Haima Automobile had showcased most of its products (including the Bird Electric EV1) at Auto Expo 2020
Chinese automaker Haima Automobile’s debut to the Indian market could be delayed due to COVID-19. Several Chinese automotive brands plan to enter India with a compelling range of products in the coming years. It was only recently that Great Wall Motors signed an MoU with the Government of Maharashtra to set up a new manufacturing facility, 45 kilometres from Pune city.
Across global industries, COVID-19 pandemic has created several hurdles and confusion. OEMs had to cancel or postpone important launches and events as a result. In fact, popular automotive shows such as Geneva International Motor Show, EICMA, INTERMOT, etc., had to be called off too. India’s Auto Expo 2020 (held in early February) is one of the very few major automotive events that have taken place this year.
Haima Automobile, as well as other upcoming Chinese names, had showcased almost its entire global line-up at the biennial Indian automotive event. The company had also introduced the Bird Electric EV1 electric hatchback, which was developed in collaboration with Delhi-based Bird Group. Once launched, it would most likely carry a price tag of Rs 10 lakh ex-showroom.
Ankur Bhatia, Director of Bird Electric, shares that his goal of introducing an affordable all-electric city car for Indian buyers is facing a lot of uncertainty. In addition to the COVID-19 situation, the widespread anti-China sentiment in the country has had an indirect impact too. Earlier this month, Bajaj Auto and Maruti Suzuki had shared their thoughts against ‘Boycott China’ movement.
The design of the Bird Electric EV1 was supposed to be finalised by now. However, travel restrictions and other controls on international logistics put a halt in its finishing developmental processes. Ankur Bhatia expects a ‘bumpy road’ ahead for Chinese automakers entering the Indian market in the near future, especially since the Indian government banned certain Chinese smartphone applications due to the recent border tensions.
Planned to be manufactured in Manesar, Haryana, the Bird Electric EV1 is powered by PMSM (Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor) coupled to either a 20.5kWh or 28.5kWh battery pack. Range figures are claimed to be 200km and 300km, respectively. Output characteristics stand at 39bhp and 95Nm as standard. The higher 28.5kWh variant generates 105Nm of torque.
The powertrain does not support fast-charging and a conventional wall-charger takes nine hours to fill up the battery from empty (11 hours for the 28.5kWh unit). In either case, top speed is limited to 105km/h. The lesser battery variant is significantly lighter at 930kg — still heavier than most ICE cars on the Indian market.