Eli Zero electric urban city car designed for Chinese client.
Eli Zero electric urban city car designed for Chinese client.

Will China Rule the EV World?

By Bill Moore

Former GM designer, Dan Darancou sees the handwriting on the wall and moved his design talents to Beijing. In this exclusive EV World interview, he talks about helping design the cars of the future for the world's largest auto market.

Over the years, I've had the opportunity to talk with and interview various leading American car designers and engineers, from GM to Ford to Chrysler.

Dan Darancou is unique, not only because of what he's worked on - GM's EN-V self-balancing electric 'pods' - but now where he works and for whom he engages his considerable talents: an engineering/design firm called CH Auto Tech located in the capital of China, Beijing.

Dan was back in the USA to not only clear his lungs of China's savage air pollution, which is especially bad this time of year, but to show off his latest creation, the Eli Zero electric city car, which debuted at CES 2017. Strongly resembling a side-by-side seating version of the Renault Twizy, the Zero represents the direction the auto industry in China is headed: small, agile, affordable urban runabouts that bridge the gap between the nation's massive bike share systems and conventional, highway capable vehicles: ICE-age fossils models and "New Energy" electric ones.

It wasn't that far back that China produced more cars annually than the United States: 21.1 million in 2015 compared to 17.95, respectively. But that growth has also resulted in literally deadly amounts of air pollution, not to mention daily life sapping congestion. Annual deaths from air pollution in China are estimated at 1.6 million. In India, another growing auto market, the numbers are thought to be 1.3 million each year.

Enter compact electric cars. It was Darancou's work on the EN-V for the Shanghai World's Fair that attracted the attention of CH Auto Tech, making him that proverbial "offer he couldn't refuse."

You can listen to our entire interview using the embedded MP3 audio below or feel free to download it for playback on your favorite player or device.

Times Article Viewed: 11137
Originally published: 25 Jan 2017


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