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Electrovaya Scores Chinese Electric Car Deals

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While the financial turmoil has put a damper on some electric car companies’ plans, Mississauga, Ontario-based Electrovaya, which makes battery systems for hybrid and electric vehicles, has been making some notable moves lately. The company said yesterday it had signed three deals with vehicle and equipment manufacturers in China, including Chana International, Shifeng Group and Lange Electric Equipment. These contracts could bring some of the first Chinese electric vehicles to the North American market.

With the U.S. topping the ranks as the world’s largest vehicle market, North America is a hot target for the growing Chinese auto industry. Chinese automaker BYD, which recently took in a cash infusion from Warren Buffett, has said in the past that it’s interested in the U.S. market, but car maker Chana may beat it to the punch.

Electrovaya also recently signed an agreement Electrovaya made with India’s Tata Motors and Norway’s Miljø Innovasjon for highway-speed electric cars. Electrovaya, Tata and Miljø, a subsidiary of Miljobil Grenland, plan to launch electric car and battery production in Norway for the European and Indian markets.

For Chana, Electrovaya will provide its SuperPolymer batteries for 30 electric cars over the next few quarters. Reuters said Electrovaya will handle the distribution of the cars, which will be assembled in Canada and based on Chana’s Ben hatchback. A source told Reuters that Chana plans to eventually build the cars on its own and ship them to North America.

Electrovaya is also teaming up with Shifeng for electric vehicles for the North American and global specialty truck market. Shifeng, based in Shandong, makes light trucks, including four-wheeled and three-wheeled pickups, as well as tractors and harvesters.

Rounding out Electrovaya’s China dealmaking, the company signed an agreement to work with Lange Electric Equipment for battery equipment. Electrovaya and Lange, a specialty equipment manufacturer headquartered in Guangzhou, plan to set up a joint venture to supply manufacturing equipment to Electrovaya’s battery licensees.

Details from Electrovaya on the models and makes of its China battery deals are scarce. But Electrovaya is also working on its own low-speed car — the Maya-300 — a tiny two-seater, which is expected to have a range of up to 120 miles per charge.