The U.S. version of the K50 shall be priced around $149,000 when it reaches showrooms in 2020.
About 40 battery-electric vehicles are on display at this week’s New York International Auto Show, and contrary to their popular image as slow and stodgy, many of them put an emphasis on efficiency, including the new Qiantu K50 by Mullen.
With its twin electric motors getting power from a lithium-ion battery pack, the K50 can produce 430 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque, enough to start it from 0 to 60 in just 4.3 seconds, with an electronically limited top speed of 112 mph.
Already selling in China, there is a two-month backlog of orders, stated David Michery, founder and CEO of California-based Mullen Technologies, a start-up collaborating with Chinese automaker Qiantu Motor to bring the K50 to the U.S. market in 2020.
When the first generation of electric vehicles came to market at the start of the decade, products such as the Nissan Leaf put an emphasis on range above everything else, highly limiting the fun-to-drive factor. Tesla modified the equation with its original sedan, the Model S, which could match the acceleration of some of the quickest sports and muscle cars on the market, particularly when geared up with additional Ludicrous Mode.
The K50 sits low and wide, with classic supercar proportions, and the partners behind the project are betting there is a rising and still highly untapped market for high-performance electric cars.
For the U.S. market, Qiantu will ship a number of major components of the K50 to the U.S. where Mullen will put them together, a lot like a kit car. Some parts will be sourced from the States, however, consisting of the battery pack that is presently produced in San Francisco and then marketed to China.
Michery stated the start-up expects to price the U.S. version of the K50 at around $149,000 when it reaches showrooms in 2020.
The initial target is to sell an estimated of 1,000 of the sports cars in 2020, the figure rising to 5,000 yearly, starting in 2022. Whether it will be able to build that much of a market is far from certain. Regardless of the rise in demand for the Tesla Model 3 last year, total sales of battery-electric vehicles slightly topped 1% of the American market.
The Qiantu K50 will be first sold through five California dealerships owned by Mullen Technologies’ affiliate, Mullen Auto Sales. The new car company states it is negotiating franchises with other retailers and hopes to open another showroom in Brooklyn, New York, by the time the first K50 is ready for the American markets.