Renault-backed Beyonca EV touts health surveillance, targets Audi in China By Reuters

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BEIJING (Reuters) – Beyonca, a start-up founded by a group of former Volkswagen executives (ETR:), plans to take on Audi and BMW in China from next year with a new premium electric vehicle , betting on features such as health monitoring will appeal to buyers.

Directed by the current Renault (EPA:) Chinese CEO Soh Weiming and Renault and Dongfeng Motor-backed Beyonca, two, plans to unveil its first production car in the first quarter of next year with deliveries starting in 2024, Soh told Reuters.

The company rolled out a concept car on Sunday with features like sensors that can monitor the driver’s blood pressure, alarms to alert medics employed by Beyonca in the event of an emergency, and a self-driving feature to help park the car. .

Soh, Beyonca’s chairman, said the company was targeting the premium premium segment, where it would compete with models such as Audi’s A8L, BMW’s 7 Series and Mercedes’ S-Class.

“We have to face them,” Soh said, referring to the three premium German brands. “With the medicals and all these things that we have to roll out, we would have a chance.”

Beyonca will start production in China but plans to build an overseas factory within five years to serve markets such as the Middle East, ASEAN countries and Europe, he said. adding that it aims to sell 100,000 electric vehicles a year with three to five models available by “a few years after 2025”.

Soh said when the car launches, third-generation EV technology will deliver faster charging times and longer ranges.

HARD TIME

The launch, however, comes as signs of slowing demand emerge in the world’s biggest car market and competition in the country’s electric vehicle sector intensifies. Tesla recently slashed prices in China in a move that analysts say could spark a price war.

Soh acknowledged the difficult backdrop but pointed to steady growth in the premium car segment, which he said had potential annual sales of 3 million cars in China.

He declined to say how much Beyonca had raised from investors or what Renault and Dongfeng’s stake in the company was.

Renault has confirmed it has invested, saying it will bolster the group’s transformation from automaker to tech giant with cars at its center. Dongfeng did not respond to a request for comment.

“Our idea is to create something under a more agile corporate structure… What we’ve achieved in over a year here would take seven or eight years at a conventional automaker,” Soh said.

Besides Soh, who was a longtime Volkswagen executive overseeing its China operations, Beyonca’s founding team includes former Volkswagen board member Christian Klingler, the former head of Audi’s R&D department. , Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler, and former Bentley senior designer Dirk van Braeckel.

Beyonca is headquartered in Beijing and has a design center in Munich and an artificial intelligence development center in Singapore.

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