WE Solutions Ltd in Hong Kong has announced plans to 3D print electric vehicles in Shanghai for taxi and ride-hailing services in China. For more information see the IDTechEx report son 3D printing materials and electric vehicles.
The Group expanded into EV business by a series of acquisitions and establishment of joint ventures. The Group first acquired 85.5% stake in a Japanese EV company, namely GLM Co Ltd which excels in EV engineering services and electrified powertrain integration, in September 2017. In December 2017, the Group acquired 27% stake in Divergent Technologies Inc, a US-based 3D printing technologies supplier. Divergent owns over 140 registered intellectual properties in 3D metal printing for vehicle body structure. In April and May of 2018, the Group completed the acquisition of 29.5% of EV Power Holding Limited, a rapidly expanding EV charging solutions provider in Mainland China and Hong Kong. In addition, in May 2018, the Group formed a joint venture with Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd, a private equity and venture capital arm of the Shanghai Municipal Government, to adopt 3D printing technologies in the design, development and assembly of EVs for taxis, online hailing services and other related B2B services.
Furthermore, in late May 2018, the Group has entered into a cooperation framework memorandum to invest in a Europe-based "Advanced Auto Tech Co", and a joint venture is also agreed to be formed in Hong Kong, in which the Group and the Advanced Auto Tech Co would own 51% and 49% stakes, respectively. The joint venture will be principally engaging in the design, research and development of products related to automotive technologies, including in-vehicle infotainment systems, advanced driver-assistance systems and other artificial intelligence and autonomous automotive products.
Riding on these investments and partnerships, a platform is formed to integrate and bring together innovative EV related technologies, including EV design and development, electric car assembly technology, innovative auto manufacturing process enabled by 3D printing, and EV charging solutions. The platform will also integrate future acquisitions and projects that the Group would enter into.
Mr. Ho King Fung Eric, Chairman of WE Solutions said, "We are excited to bring together the best and the most innovative technologies in the field of EV and related business around the world. This platform is essential for us to implement our strategy of building a full EV value chain, to tap the opportunities in China, which is the largest EV market. The EV market in China is at an inflection point, with unparalleled growth in demand and government policy stimulus. We are well positioned to capture this huge opportunity."
WE Solutions aims to expand its presence to the critical parts of the EV value chain. Apart from the technologies it has already invested in, the Group is also interested in areas including EV battery recycling.
Production of the 3D printed cars is set to start after completion of crash tests in the next 12 to 18 months. The factory has the reported capacity to print up to 10,000 EVs per year, the technology provided Divergent 3D. Divergent is planning to further sell the technology to other automobile manufacturers Asia. WE Solutions plans to use this factory as a reference project, which will demonstrate the technology.
Source and top image: WE Solutions Ltd, Divergent 3D
Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: 3D Printing USA 2018 on 14 - 15 Nov 2018 at Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, USA hosted by IDTechEx.