Xindayang, an obscure company in China's burgeoning new energy vehicle industry, is looking to carve out a niche with its ZD-brand pure electric micro cars.
Earlier this month, Xindayang revealed an aggressive plan to build a 300,000-unit plant in the eastern city of Ningbo in the coming years with renowned Chinese carmaker Geely, which is the owner of premium brand Volvo.
The move came only two months after Xindayang's ZD D1 electric car rolled off the production line of its joint venture with Geely in the northwest city of Lanzhou. The Lanzhou factory has an annual capacity to produce 100,000 cars.
Xindayang also has a 30,000-unit plant in the eastern city of Linyi.
The company, which made its initial fortune more than a decade ago from electric motors and bikes, branched out into electric cars in 2006.
"Competing in the electric car industry is like walking in a desert where a hundred entrepreneurs come in and only several can survive. We followed some roundabout routes in the past but we are determined to move forward, as we believe the industry offers huge opportunities," said the company's president Bao Wenguang.
Bao said micro electric cars were the "most optimal" transport choice for the majority of people living in urban areas due to the growing pressures of pollution and traffic jams.
He forecast that the micro electric car market would reach 15 million units in China in the foreseeable future.
The Chinese government has encouraged people to buy purely electric and plug-in hybrid cars. Buyers of such cars can receive government subsidies and are also exempt from a 10 percent purchase tax.
Using the preferential policy, people can buy Xindayang's ZD D1 model for about 48,800 yuan ($8,000), less than half the car's tag price of 108,800 yuan.
The ZD D1 is equipped with a permanent magnet brushless direct current motor and has two battery options: lithium-ion and lead-acid. The lithium-ion version has a range of 160km and its top speed is 60km/h. It can accelerate from zero to 50km/h within eight seconds.
The ZD D1 is 2765mm long, 1540mm wide and 1545mm high. It has a 1765mm wheelbase.
Xidayang plans to launch the ZD D2 micro electric car in May. The new model will have a range of 200km and a top speed of 85km/h.
The company has 221 dealerships in the country and sold 7,400 ZD cars last year, accounting for nearly 20 percent of overall pure electric car sales in China.
It also runs car rental businesses in a number of Italian cities, such as Milan and Pisa.
Earlier this month, Xindayang opened an electric vehicle R&D center in Tokyo to boost its development capabilities.