Silk-FAW is moving ahead with its plan to build electrified vehicles in Italy, despite concerns from some local authorities over the project.
The joint venture is expected to finalize the purchase of an area of land in the city of Reggio Emilia on August 5, according to Reuters. It then expects to hold an opening ceremony for the construction of the site in early September.
Silk-FAW selected Reggio Emilia as the location for its Italian production facility and research center in 2021. The initial plan called for production to start at the beginning of 2023 but has faced delays due to issues in finalizing a mortgage contract to buy the land.
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Earlier this month, head of economic development in the Emilia Romagna regional government, Vincenzo Colla, expressed concerns about the plans.
“They’ll have to tell us if the project goes ahead… and, if it does, it necessarily means that financial resources are there. If the project is dead, they just have to tell us,” Colla told Reuters. “We’re clearly worried. As of today financial flows have not been up to the needs. We expect to see a financial roadmap to make this investment sustainable.”
Silk-FAW confirmed that it was moving ahead with its plans during a video conference with local authorities earlier in the week. In addition to building electric and hybrid vehicles in Italy, it will also manufacture them in China under the Hongqi brand.
The company’s first planned production model is the Hongqi S9. It features a V8 engine working alongside three electric motors that combine to pump out 1,400 hp. Silk-FAW says that will be enough to send it to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 1.9 seconds and through to a 249 mph (400 km/h) top speed. Production will be capped at just 99 units worldwide, with each example commanding a starting price of $1.45 million.