Manufacturing News

BAIC opens r&d center in U.S. tech hub

Chinese automaker BAIC Motor opened an r&d center in Silicon Valley, a major technology hub in northern California in the United States. The research center will help the company develop technology for electric vehicles, batteries and telematics.

The center, which BAIC launched as a partnership with the Beijing New Engineering Research Institute, houses 20 employees.

BAIC said the center eventually will help the state-owned company to establish a global presence, although BAIC did not offer a timetable.

The Silicon Valley region -- where Google Inc., Tesla Motors Inc. and Apple Inc. got their start --is also home to regional r&d centers operated by Ford Motor Co., Volkswagen AG, General Motors, Toyota Motor Corp., Daimler AG and other automakers.

BAIC also operates technology partnerships with Siemens AG -- Europe's largest engineering firm -- and SK Group, South Korea's top wireless service provider.

Other partners include Atieva, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based startup that is developing EV technology, and Italy's CECOMP SpA, which builds prototype vehicles for automakers.

With the aid of its partners, BAIC plans to develop a family of three electric cars with a maximum range of 124 up to 248 miles.

The company will showcase a new model at the 2016 Beijing auto show.

In the first six months of this year, BAIC sold 6,223 electric cars in China. By 2020, the company says it hopes to boost annual EV production to 200,000 units, with 30 percent to be sold outside China.

The company also plans to build a second r&d center in Europe, although it did not specify a location or deadline.

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