EV Startup SF Motors Rebrands as 'Seres', Opening Preorders for its SF5 Crossover Next Week
After keeping a relatively low profile throughout 2018, electric vehicle startup SF Motors has officially changed its name to Seres and announced today that is opening up pre-orders for its first electric vehicle the SF5 crossover next week during the Shanghai Auto Show.
The company was founded in 2016 and is poised to become a serious competitor to Tesla in China with plans to expand globally, including to the U.S.
Seres is the electric vehicle unit of China's Chongqing Sokon Industry Group (Sokon). The company produces sport utility vehicles, electric commercial vehicles and new energy vehicles, which include electric and plug-in hybrids, for the China market.
According to its press release, the automaker says the name change represents the collaboration between the East and West to create and share technologies. With the launch of the first electric vehicle, the company wanted a new identity to reflect its ambitious vision to build intelligent electric vehicles.
The automaker's U.S. headquarters is in Silicon Valley. The EV startup has additional offices in Ann Arbor, Mich., Tokyo, and Chongqing. It is aiming to be a global brand.
In Oct 2017, Seres (then SF Motors) purchased InEVit, a EV battery modularization startup headed by Tesla Co-Founder, Martin Eberhard. Eberhard had previously worked with SF Motors as a key strategic advisor. He joined the company as Chief Innovation Officer before leaving in July 2018.
The Electric SF5
The SF5 crossover was first unveiled in March 2018 at the company's Silicon Valley headquarters.
The battery-powered crossover will be available in two models, the SF5 EV and the longer-range version called the SF5 EVR. Both versions features a lightweight aluminum chassis designed for maximum performance.
The SF5's powertrain has a maximum power output of 510 kw producing around 680 horsepower with 767 ft lbs of torque. The vehicle can go from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph.
Seres developed its own proprietary battery cells for the SF5, with a leading energy density and a longer life-cycle, according to the company. In addition, Seres designed a patented battery pack system, enabling range of more than 300 miles per charge.
The SF5 will use Alibaba's advanced 'Ali 2.0' OS
The SF5 features a center console with 17-inch multimedia touch screen featuring Ali OS 2.0, an in-vehicle operating system developed by Alibaba Cloud, a subsidiary of China's e-commerce giant Alibaba.
Ali 2.0 features FaceID based on face recognition, which recognizes the driver and adjust the vehicle accessories to each driver's preferred settings. It also includes integrated V2X technology, so the vehicle can connect to smart infrastructure, such as traffic signals.
AliOS 2.0 which powers the vehicles infotainment system supports the multi-screen displays. For example, The central control screen can display a map for navigation while while the rear display can play music or other entertainment. In addition, screen content can be shared by drag and drop.
For turn by turn navigation, Ali 2.0 integrates real-time navigation information using AR technology.
State of the Art Manufacturing Facility
In Nov 2017, Seres then known SF Motors, announced the acquisition of a former AM General and Mercedes Benz commercial assembly plant (CAP) in Mishawaka, Indiana.
Seres is the only EV company to establish its own U.S. and Chinese manufacturing and will use the plant for upcoming North American EV production.
The SF5 is being produced at the Jinkang Seres Intelligent Factory, which Seres says is one of the most intelligent and environmentally friendly facilities in China.
The factory features extensive automation, with nearly 1,000 robots that optimize the production process. The facility is equipped with advanced energy-saving, environmentally friendly processes and equipment such as being able to treat and reuse up to 1,800 tons of wastewater daily.
Serres has partnered with leading automotive suppliers including Bosch, Infineon technologies, Samsung SDI and Siemens to outfit their manufacturing facilities with state-of-the-art robotics.
Seres is aiming for a total capacity of 200,000 vehicles per year at its facilities in the U.S. and China.
During the Shanghai Auto Show, Seres will announce pricing and additional vehicle specs of the SF5. The automaker will also debut an updated SF7, a larger SUV that is currently under development.
Customers can order their vehicles and monitor delivery progress via the SERES smartphone app or check out the vehicle in-person at a retail location in Shanghai or Tianjin.
Seres said that the SF5 will be available for customers in China beginning in Q3 2019.
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