Tesla's Biggest Rival Is an SF-Based Electric SUV From China

They just bought an old Hummer factory, and they mean business

By Tanner Garrity

Tesla's Biggest Rival Is an SF-Based Electric SUV From China
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05 April 2018

Electric vehicle startups are a dime a dozen these days.

The latest? SF Motors, a fledgling Silicon Valley automotive company that just bought an old Hummer plant in Indiana. (Bit of a shift in environmental conscientiousness for that factory.)

That’s all pretty standard, and similar to other new-name electric autos in production.

Here’s where the story gets more complicated: SF Motors is an American subsidiary of Chinese auto manufacturers Sokon. China represents a burgeoning market for SUVs, and electric SUVs in particular, and Sokon plans to ship 150,000 of the new vehicles — named the SF5 and SF7, respectively  back home, with a remaining 50,000 builds going to American consumers.

The SF5 (2 images)

The vehicles, of which the SF5 will be the first in production, will run on an electric drivetrain built by a tech company called Inevit and should hike 300 miles on a single charge. The cars will have up to four electric motors, with the feistiest among them promising 1,000 HP.

All impressive, if pulled off, and all packed into a quiet stunner of a car. Who can hate on that metallic blue?

SF Motors’ site is frustratingly silent on more details, mostly offering some lofty “We’re out to change the world” jibber-jabber, but given their acquisitions of Inevit and the old Hummer plant, they clearly mean business.

Elon Musk pinged the President on Twitter back in early March regarding equality on auto import duties with the U.S. and China, and as it stands, the SF5 would be import tax-free in both the States and across the Pacific (due to China’s relaxed joint venture laws). That's a pretty massive advantage for any company looking to carve out a market. Musk probably isn’t too pumped that former Tesla CEO Martin Eberhard (who started Inevit) is backing SF Motors, either.

But if we expect change to come at the level of federal regulations, more EV options is ultimately a good thing.

Here's to a day in the future when we can all spend the weekend silently piloting a clean-burning machine down some winding coastline, far, far away from the social-media spats and tariff wars of the rich and famous. 

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