Bloomberg

China’s $87 Billion Electric-Car Giant Hasn’t Sold a Vehicle Yet

(Bloomberg) — China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group Ltd.’s expansive pop-up showroom sits at the heart of Shanghai’s National Exhibition and Convention Center. With nine models on display, it’s hard to miss. The electric car upstart has one of the biggest booths at China’s 2021 Auto Show, which starts Monday, opposite storied German automaker BMW AG. Yet its bold presence belies an uncomfortable truth — Evergrande hasn’t sold a single car under its own brand.China’s largest property developer has an array of investments outside of real estate, from soccer clubs to retirement villages. But it’s the recent entry into electric cars that’s captured investors’ imaginations. Shareholders have pushed Evergrande NEV’s Hong Kong-listed stock up more than 1,000% over the past 12 months, allowing it to raise billions of dollars in fresh capital. It now has a market value of $87 billion, greater than Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co.Such exuberance over an automaker that has repeatedly pushed back forecasts for when it will mass produce a car is emblematic of the froth that has been building in EVs over the past year, with investors plowing money into a rally that briefly made Elon Musk the world’s richest person and has some concerned about a bubble. Perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in China, home to the world’s biggest market for new energy cars, where a mind-boggling 400 EV manufacturers now jostle for consumers’ attention, led by a cabal of startups valued more than established auto players but which have yet to turn a profit.Evergrande NEV was a relatively late entrant to that scene.In March 2019, Hui Ka Yan, Evergrande’s chairman and one of China’s richest men, vowed to take on Musk and become the world’s biggest maker of EVs in three to five years. Tesla Inc.’s Model Y crossover had just had its global debut. In the two years since, Tesla has gained an enviable foothold in China, establishing its first factory outside the U.S. and delivering around 35,500 cars in March. Chinese rival Nio Inc. earlier this month reached a significant milestone when its 100,000th EV rolled off the production line, prompting Musk to tweet his congratulations.Despite his lofty ambitions and Evergrande NEV’s rich valuation, Hui has repeatedly pushed back car-production targets. The tycoon’s coterie of rich friends, among others, have stumped up billions, but making cars — electric or otherwise — is hard, and hugely capital intensive. Nio’s gross margins only flipped into positive territory in mid-2020, after years of heavy losses and a lifeline from a municipal government.Speaking on an earnings call in late March after Evergrande NEV’s full-year loss for 2020 widened by a yawning 67%, Hui said the company planned to begin trial production at the end of this year, delayed from an original timeline of last September. Deliveries aren’t expected to start until some time in 2022. Expectations for annual production capacity of 500,000 to 1 million EVs by March 2022

Hundreds of passengers have landed in Auckland on an international flight after the travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand opened.

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, Australians can enjoy relatively unrestricted international travel and avoid hotel quarantine when they return home.

And for New Zealanders stuck on this side of the Tasman, today marks the start of a return to normal when going home is only a short flight away.

The rules changed at midnight and the first flight headed for Auckland from Sydney airport took off about 7:00am, after an initial delay.

Loading

Upon arrival, passengers are set to walk off the plane and out into the community, becoming the first arrivals to bypass New Zealand’s hotel quarantine system since the start of the pandemic.

There were people heading to a funeral, some moving countries, and plenty of New Zealanders nervous to see family on the other side at the check-in gate.

Heather Lyberopoulos, 56, an anxious aunty ready to reunite with her sister, said she “had to be” on the first flight out.

“It’s some sort of normality for me to be able to go home. I’m grateful,” she said.

She’s booked a one-way flight, ever aware the situation could quickly change.

A woman with short salt and pepper hair, wearing a blue surgical mask at the airport.
Heather Lyberopoulos hasn’t seen her family in Auckland for more than three years. She’s packed a “bag of lollies for the kids”.(

ABC News: Emily Clark

)

Isabella Buckney, 26, and Troy Godfrey, 25, were moving to New Zealand today.

Chasing winter, the couple will spend some time with family in Auckland before a move to Queenstown in time for snow season.

“We had our flights booked for May last year … so we’ve been waiting since then,” Ms Buckney said.

Mr Godfrey said today marked a significant day in the pandemic.

“It’s a massive point in the whole pandemic in terms of getting to that new stage of adapting to life,” he said.

“It marks a new stage and I’m glad it’s finally happening.”

Ms Buckney said the special position Australia and New Zealand were in made travelling during the pandemic “feel natural”.

“If I was flying anywhere else, maybe I wouldn’t feel so calm,” she said.

A woman and a man in a red jacket standing in the airport queue with several suitcases, both wearing a face mask.
Isabella Buckney and Troy Godfrey are moving to New Zealand today.(

ABC News: Emily Clark

)

Travel bubble opens up opportunities

While some international travel has been possible for some Australians, it’s been heavily restricted and not without hefty costs.

The travel bubble means Australians are now free to visit an international destination without applying for