Another Chinese electric vehicle (EV) startup, Leapmotor, wants to expand beyond China with a range of new vehicles developed with export markets in mind.
Leapmotor will expand its presence in Europe with the mid-sized C10 electric SUV, revealed at the 2023 Munich motor show, and plans to enter various other markets, too.
“With the arrival of our first global product based on LEAP3.0 architecture, the C10, all of Leapmotor’s subsequent products will be designed and developed with a global mindset and adhere to global standards,” said Zhu Jiangming, Leapmotor’s founder, chairman and CEO.
“In the next two years, Leapmotor will introduce five globally-oriented products in Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, the Americas, and other regions, offering intelligent mobility experiences to automotive consumers worldwide.”
AutoExpress reports the C10 will be sold in the UK some time after 2024 as the company needs more time to develop right-hand drive models.
It’s unclear if other right-hand drive markets like Australia could follow.
The C10 is set to be offered in both fully electric and range extender variants, with the option of five- or six-seat configurations.
Built on the new Leap 3.0 architecture, the C10 will reportedly be offered with a rear-wheel drive powertrain producing 170kW of power and 320Nm of torque, and an all-wheel drive powertrain with 250kW and 360Nm.
Battery size is yet to be confirmed along with range estimates.
Despite Leapmotor being a young company, it’s debuting the C10 and Leap 3.0 platform with some innovative technology.
This includes individual battery cells bolted to the chassis instead of one large battery pack, which is said to improve thermal efficiency.
There’s also a central ‘supercomputing’ platform that integrates drive and body modules into one unit, oil-cooled electric motors featuring new semiconductors with high-voltage elements leading to a motor with increased power density, and an “intelligent cockpit system” driven by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8295 computer chip.
A comprehensive active safety suite is powered by a roof-mounted LiDar unit and high-resolution cameras, and Leapmotor promises Level 3 autonomous driving ability.
Leapmotor has already started sales of its first car in Europe, selling the T03 hatchback in France. It sold 1000 cars in China in 2019 which ballooned to more than 111,000 cars in 2022.
The fledgling startup has attracted the attention of automotive giants such as Stellantis and Volkswagen.
Stellantis is reportedly looking at investing in a local EV firm to establish a business partnership that would help it grow in China while Volkswagen is also considering a partnership with the brand.
Leapmotor was founded in 2015 and already offers a range of four electric vehicles.
Its first vehicle was the S01 electric coupe in 2017, later joined by the mid-sized C11 SUV, C01 sedan and T03 city car.