Try to name another electric sports car in this price range.
Ever since we saw it two years ago in Shanghai, Chinese automaker Qiantu has been talking about bringing its K50 electric sports car to the United States. With some help from California-based Mullen Technologies, the K50 looks like it will soon arrive in the US market after making an appearance in production form at the 2019 New York Auto Show. Here, CarBuzz had the chance to speak with Frank McMann, Head Engineer of Mullen technologies to ask about the K50 and its future arrival in the US.
As with any new company, we wanted to know how the automaker pronounced its name and get to the bottom of the whole, 'Qiantu by Mullen' confusion. "Everyone is going to call it Kian-tu," McMann says, though it is actually pronounced "Chian-tu." First mystery solved.
So, who are Qiantu and Mullen? "Qiantu is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ch Auto," a Chinese automaker who "designed, engineered, and produced" the K50, which is "a 100% production vehicle in China already on sale," McMann explained. "Mullen signed a cooperation agreement with Qiantu to December 2018. We will be homologating this car for sale in the US - and we will be assembling it in the US." McMann wasn't able to tell us where in the US the car will be built but promised there will be an announcement "in a couple of weeks."
Once the site for assembly is chosen, Mullen says deliveries of the K50 will take place between Q2 to October of 2020. McMann explained that the car could be delayed slightly because "the homologation process isn't complete" but Mullen Technologies already has "a wholesale and retail division with five locations currently in Southern California with plans to expand."
Once the K50 does go on sale, we think it will enter a unique space in the market where no other cars currently exist. "The vehicle you see on the floor right now, after rebates in China, goes for about the equivalent of $105,000," said McMann. So when it arrives in the US expect prices of "somewhere between maybe $105,000 to $150,000." There are certainly other two-seat sports cars in that price category but none are fully electric.
Unless we see a change between now and next year, the K50 has the chance to be the only all-electric sports car in the $100,000 to $150,000 price range. Tesla is working on its next-generation Roadster but it will start at $200,000. There are four-door models coming soon, like the Porsche Taycan, and hybrid competitors like the Acura NSX, but we think the Qiantu K50 by Mullen has a unique opportunity to start its own market segment.