Innovation Automotive (IA) is to start distributing all-electric Chinese brands DFSK and Skywell in the UK with a direct-to-customer model.
IA will be ready to launch sales by the end of the year and will be starting with a focus on providing electric light commercial vehicles, but will also add passenger vehicle sales in the future.
The DFSK EC35 compact panel van will be the first vehicle to go on sale in early 2022. This will be followed by the DFSK EC31, an electric chassis cab van.
IA also has an exclusive agreement to provide Skywell commercial vehicles and will be introducing new products from that brand in the UK in the “near future”.
It's also possible IA will add more electric vehicle brands to its portfolio in the future.
The company’s chief executive is Paul Brigden, who has 35 years of automotive experience, most recently as operations director for Mitsubishi Motors in the UK.
Brigden said: “IA exists to make the switch to electric as hassle-free and straightforward as possible.
“IA hopes to challenge the reticence and scepticism that still exists in the market and help customers feel comfortable that they are making the smart choice.”
Brigden said the IA leadership team has been working in the UK automotive market for “many years” and they understand the barriers that exist to making the switch to electric.
He added: “That’s why we created this company. This is about offering the right products, at the right price with the right level of service.”
A spokesperson for IA told AM it was too early to share full details of whether there will be showrooms or physical locations to experience the DFSK and Skywell brands, but said: "IA aims to make the business as efficient as possible, make the cost proposition as competitive as possible and have full control over the quality of customer experience.
"This is the rationale behind the direct-to-consumer model."
IA said servicing will be supported with "a network of locations where customers can have their vehicles serviced and repaired".
The spokesperson said: "IA is still finalising these aspects of its proposition and will announce full details when the company launches at the end of the year."
Last mile delivery market
IA will be targetting sales for the last mile delivery market including owner-operators and small to mid-sized fleets. This is where IA sees a gap in the market for affordable and accessible electric LCVs.
The spokesperson added: "IA will not be targeting large fleets and will primarily be supporting the independent sector."
The DSFK EC35 has a maximum payload of 950kg and a loading volume of 4.8m3.
The EC35 is powered is a 39kWh battery that delivers a potential range of over 150 miles and can be recharged to 100% capacity in 90 minutes using a rapid charger.
The vehicle is backed by a five-year warranty.
The EC35 will be followed by the EC31, an electric chassis cab van that also comes with a five-year warranty.