Chinese electric-car start-up Seres is looking for a UK partner for its battery electric powertrain that currently underpins the SF5 SUV, a rival for the Jaguar I-Pace.
Rather than export finished cars to the UK from China or the US, Seres is looking to sell its electric platform with battery pack, controller and motor technology to a UK-based manufacturer to help speed new battery-electric models to market.
“We have met with some potential UK partners already,” Yifan Tang, Seres' chief technology officer, told Autocar at the FISITA conference in London.
“We have good technology and products and are actively looking for partners.”
The platform is built around a 90kWh lithium ion battery pack and can be configured with either one or two motors, in total rating 510kW (684bhp).
Battery cell chemistry comes from Samsung, and Seres is offering to use its knowhow and contacts to bring a 'next-generation cell' Gigafactory to the UK. This is an active project being pursued by the British government that was given a boost last week by Jaguar’s announcement that it will build a new family of electric saloons at Castle Bromwich, including a flagship XJ.
Seres sees a platform or technology-sharing deal with a UK manufacturer as a faster and more cost-effective route to market for its electric car knowhow instead of launching and establishing a new brand in the highly competitive British market.
Seres will launch its first model, the five-seat SF5, in China in October. A long-wheelbase version, the SF7, that offers the options of a five or seven-seat layout will follow in 2020/2021. An obvious rival for the SF7 is the Tesla Model X.
Although a relatively new company, Seres has a factory in Chongqing, China with a unit capacity of 150,000 and is converting the former AM General plant in Indiana, US into a 50,000-unit-capacity plant.
Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, close to Tesla’s Fremont factory, Seres also has a research and development centre in Ann Arbor, Michigan and a battery cell research facility in Tokyo, Japan.
Motor and battery pack assembly is centred on Chongqing, a major car-manufacturing city in north-west China where multiple factories from brands like Ford and Changan collectively build three million cars per year – more than the UK has ever built in a single year.