Atieva plans to put a premium electric sedan on the road in 2018, followed by a pair of luxury crossovers in 2020-2021, company executives told Reuters in an exclusive interview. The company is racing not just against Tesla, but also against three China-based startups that are using Silicon Valley technologists.
With its first car still at least two years away (2018) from production, Atieva is using a Mercedes-Benz Vito commercial van to test the drivetrain: a pair of high-output electric motors, a lithium-ion battery pack, inverters and controllers.
NOTE THE FOLLOWING WITH YOUR EYES WIDE OPEN: And stop calling it a SEDAN!!!
- Its a 4 x wheel drive vehicle.
- 900 horse power.
- Therefore it is a 9 seater SUV or van just like the one its testing
The innumerable seating options of the Mercedes-Benz Vito
The Awesome Safety features of the Mercedes-Benz Vito
Rawlinson, who while at Tesla led engineering of the Model S sedan, said Atieva’s software is the “secret sauce” tying all that hardware together to deliver a combined 900 horsepower to the 5,000-pound four-wheel-drive van he has named “Edna.” The drivetrain propels the van from zero to 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds, a fraction slower than the fastest Tesla Model S. Atieva’s 0-60 acceleration target for its 2018 car probably 8 seater is 2.7 seconds, faster than a 12-cylinder Ferrari supercar.
The Atieva car, being developed under the code name Project Cosmos, looks like a futuristic descendent of the Audi A7. Its headlamps are ultra-thin, with thousands of insect-inspired micro lenses. Its dashboard has a three-piece reconfigurable digital display that can be controlled by voice or touch.
As Atieva looks for where it will build its U.S. factory, manufacturing director Brian Barron says the company has narrowed its search to two sites and expects to choose later this year. Barron, who spent 20 years overseeing various BMW plants, said the factory will be designed to build 20,000 electric cars a year initially, ramping up in stages to 130,000 a year.