Niutron, an electric vehicle firm established by Li Yinan, the founder of Chinese electric scooter firm Niu Technologies, announced on December 7 that the firm’s first EV model could not be delivered quickly, and that a full refund would be made within 48 hours to more than 24,000 consumers. By way of apology, the company will offer miniature car models and Starbucks cards worth 200 yuan.
Niutron was jointly established by Dorcen Auto and Huoxingshi Technology. The former is responsible for providing automobile production qualifications, while the founder of the latter is Li Yinan. It is widely believed that the founder of the well-known electric scooter brand wants to get involved in the field of building cars with Huoxingshi Technology.
The reason in Niutron’s statement might be that Dorcen Auto’s car-making qualification examination failed. According to current policy, for new energy vehicle manufacturers that have stopped production for more than 24 months, resumed production needs to be verified by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Since 2019, Dorcen Auto’s factory has been unable to produce due to business difficulties.
In addition, news emerged lately that Huoxingshi Technology is about to close down, and that it is planning to lay off its employees. The WeChat account of Niutron has also been deactivated. Niutron denied these rumors, claiming that the company is operating normally.
However, it is very likely that layoffs have already occurred. In late November, a person familiar with the matter said that Niutron was laying off employees, and that all interns had been laid off. At the end of November, employees during probation period were laid off, and only one-third of the employees in the company would remain.
The brand’s first model was officially released on October 8. Its central control screen is divided into two parts, and so is the voice control system. Apple’s Siri is mainly used for multimedia applications, while Niutron’s own intelligent assistant can control the execution of some hardware functions on vehicles. Although the learning cost is not high, facing two operating systems, it is inevitable that users will confuse the activation methods.
In terms of assisted driving, two Horizon Robotics’ Journey 5 chips seem to be slightly inferior to the OrinX chips carried by competing models. In terms of appearance, it has been criticized for looking like a Land Rover and lacking originality.
Compared with its rivals, Niutron seems to lack featured labels. Its main concept of “urban exploration” is ambiguous. Therefore, assuming that the firm can obtain vehicle manufacturing qualifications, its future is still unclear. Consumers can choose more and more products within a price range of 278,800-318,800 yuan ($39,919 – $45,647).
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