China is interested in expanding its growing automotive production hub in Belarus by adding electric cars assembly at the BelGee joint venture factory in Belarus, the nation’s deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko said in televised interview, state news agency BELTA reported on June 4.
In November, BelGee, a Belarus-China joint venture that assembles Geely cars near Borisov in the Minsk region, launched its new unit with an annual output capacity of up to 60,000 Geely cars. The new plant will be equipped to assemble CKD (complete knock-down) kits. BelGee currently uses SKD (semi-knock-down) kits.
The company, which was set up in December 2011, currently assembles 10,000 cars per year. In 2016, BelGee increased sales by 12.3% year-on-year to 5,721 vehicles.
"While electricity seems pricy, charging an electric car is 4-5-times cheaper than refuelling a car with gasoline or diesel fuel for travelling the same distance," Semashko said. "It is a nice incentive for switching to electric cars. As far as the vehicles are concerned, China is ready to assemble a certain number of electric cars at the BelGee factory."
However, the Belarusian authorities need to prepare "the infrastructure for this kind of transport and iron out all the kinks", Semashko added. "I think the factory will also assemble electric cars in two or three years," he underlined.
The statement followed June's announcement that China's carmaker Zotye International Automobile Trading has signed a $560mn agreement to set up production of electric cars in Belarus with the Belarusian-British joint venture Unison. The deal provides for assembling 30,000 Zotye electric cars in Belarus by 2022 with a high degree of localisation. The cars will then be sold exclusively in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).