While China's third-largest automotive group, Donfeng Motors, had been gearing up to produce mass quantities of electric cars by early 2012, the reality has been more of a hodgepodge of decisions. There's been a joint venture with Nissan to build a rebadged Nissan Leaf for the China market (pictured), though it seems only a small number of them have been produced so far. There may be a $350-million acquisition bid by Dongfeng for Fisker Automotive. There are also plans to start production of the Dongfeng Fengshen E30 EV – but not until next year.
The Fengshen E30 EV is a small electric city car that debuted as the Donfeng EJo2 at the Shanghai Auto Show in 2011. It became the Dongfeng EV1 in early 2012 and was shown at the Beijing Auto Show in April 2012 as the Fengshen E30. There's also a stretched version called the Fengshen E30L The Fengshen comes equipped with a 10.5-kilowatt electric motor, can reach a top speed of 80 kilometers per hour (about 50 miles per hour) and a range of 110 to 180 kilometers (about 68 to 112 miles) from a single charge.
The Fengshen E30 EV will be competing directly with the Roewe E50 EV that was launched in the Chinese market in November of last year. The price of the E30 EV is yet to be known, but the Roewe E50 is priced at 134,900 yuan (about $21,600 US) after 100,000 yuan in government subsidies. The E30 is slightly smaller than the Rowe E50, and it's likely to cost slightly less.
That assumes Dongfeng Motors actually does start manufacturing the Fengshen E30 EV. Dongfeng has a lot of experience rebadging other vehicles for the Chinese market, so perhaps the Chinese "Leaf" – officially called the Donfeng Nissan Venucia D50 – could provide the access point for mass producing EVs in that market by 2015?