B-On rebounds with Pelkan electric van and Chery Group partnership - Select Van Leasing
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B-On rebounds with Pelkan electric van and Chery Group partnership

European EV manufacturer B-On has launched a new electric light commercial vehicle, the Pelkan, while simultaneously announcing a partnership with Chinese giant Chery.

The announcement at the Commercial Vehicle Show comes after a difficult period for B-On. Some parts of the organisation filed for insolvency in 2023, and the Max and Giga models ceased production.

However, the positive news starts here, with the Pelkan. Based on the Chinese-market Karry Penguin mid-sized van from Chery, it’s an all-electric model with either a 43 or 54kWh battery providing a range of up to 140 or 173 miles, respectively. It offers a decent payload, too, with limits of up to 1,350kg.

While it is based on the Penguin, the front, from the B-pillar forward, has been updated, and some elements, such as the top-hinged side cargo doors, are expected to be replaced with a more conventional design before the vans hit the tarmac in the UK.

Deliveries of the Pelkan, the first B-On to arrive in Europe, are expected to be seen around mid-2024. Its compact and capable design doesn’t break any moulds in the LCV world, but the company has more electric LCVs in the pipeline, which are expected to arrive in 2026.

For the Pelkan, B-On is focusing on fleet sales, leaving smaller owner-operator setups and private buyers unable to buy the vehicles, which are expected to start at around £32,000 excluding VAT.

Chery Group Partnership

The partnership between Chery Group and B-On isn’t the first for the Chinese manufacturer, which has previously collaborated with other Western brands, including Jaguar Land Rover.

This new joint venture will see B-On bringing its sales and aftersales network and branding into Europe and North America, alongside its engineering design and product development experience. Chery Commercial Vehicle will add its engineering expertise and access to its extensive supply chain, support and manufacturing capabilities to the melting pot.

Chery Group is the third-largest automaker in China, with almost two million vehicles sold last year. It’s also been China’s leading automobile exporter for the last twenty years, selling millions of vehicles across South America and Eastern Europe during that time.

B-On operates globally and has hubs in France, Switzerland, the UK, and China. Its focus is primarily on transitioning fleets to electric power by providing purpose-built eLCVs, smart productivity-enhancing tools, fleet software and telematics, and advanced energy solutions.

Bruno Lambert, CEO of B-On: “Partnering with a major world leader like Chery Group is a pivotal moment for B-On and its growth. Combined, our ability to provide high-quality, low-cost electric commercial vehicles is unmatched in the market today, and I’m extremely optimistic about our joint prospects.”
Tongyue Yin, Chery Group's chairman: “As a leading global automaker, we have long recognised the need to be prepared for an electric future. Innovative, agile companies like B-On are uniquely poised to supply the nascent and rapidly expanding commercial vehicle market in their local geographies but lack the manufacturing base to address the full mass-market demand. Our partnership makes for a perfect union. Together, our future is bright.”

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David Hughes

Friday, 17/05/2024