Refrigerated trucks may give Singapore start-up edge into China EV market

8 months ago 46

SINGAPORE - Fully electric refrigerated trucks for delivering food and pharmaceuticals are expected to give a Singapore-based start-up the edge to crack into the crowded Chinese electric vehicle (EV) market.

Singauto Technology will unveil its first EV cold storage truck model at an event in Beijing on Tuesday where it will announce pricing, company founder Liu Yuqiang told Reuters last month, adding it has completed an initial funding round of US$20 million from investors.

A viable cold storage electric vehicle could be a lucrative niche for Singauto inside the Chinese EV market, the world’s largest. The cold-chain logistics market is dominated by internal combustion vehicles, partly because refrigerating the cargo consumes so much of the power from the battery that the range of electric versions could be limited. The constraint has slowed the adoption of pure electric trucks by cold-chain fleet operators, though automakers including Geely and Toyota offer hybrid models and hydrogen-powered trucks as alternatives.

Singauto, however, is betting that as China’s hyper-competitive EV industry has become more efficient, the company can develop its refrigerated trucks in a shorter time and that favourable policies such as restrictions on internal combustion engine trucks in major cities would spur demand for pure electric vehicles.

The company already has 20,000 pre-orders for its new truck, the S1, including from Qingdao Linking Fresh Supplying Chain, and would target the small but fast-growing market for EVs in South-east Asia, said Mr Liu.

The S1 will have an 85 kilowatt-hour battery supplied by China’s CATL, the world’s largest battery maker, designed to provide 270 km of range when the truck is fully loaded, the company says.

Mr Liu said Singauto can turn profitable with sales of 30,000 trucks, in part because it has outsourced the design, engineering and manufacturing of the vehicle.

Shanghai Launch Automotive Technology, also known as Launch Design, has designed and will source components for the S1, as well as building the vehicle and future planned variants, including a smaller EV delivery van, ...

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