China FAW Group Corp. plans to launch sales of a full-electric SUV capable of Level 4 "hands off" autonomous driving next year in China as part of its effort to build its Hongqi luxury brand.
FAW displayed the EV, called the E115, last week at the Frankfurt auto show alongside Hongqi's first sports car. It has a range topping 600 kilometers (373 miles) and can accelerate to 100 km per hour (62 mph) in four seconds, FAW said.
The EV also has intelligent four-wheel drive, air suspension and seven driving modes, the state-owned company said.
It is the second full-electric vehicle in Hongqi’s lineup, following an electric crossover.
Hongqi was created in 1958 as a limousine brand for government agencies. In the late 1980s, the brand started to develop sedans for private buyers, but sales remained limited.
In 2017, the Chinese government appointed Xu Liuping, former head of another major state-owned automaker, Changan Automobile, to lead FAW. With Xu at the helm, FAW has launched two crossovers of which one is battery powered, and an SUV. Previously, the brand offered just a limousine, a full-size sedan and compact sedan.
Last year, FAW hired Giles Taylor, former design director of Rolls-Royce, to lead Hongqi’s design and styling.
Thanks to an expanded lineup, Hongqi sales have maintained robust growth for 18 months. For the first eight months of this year, its deliveries soared 231 percent year on year to roughly 52,000 vehicles, according to FAW.