An electric hypercar is in the works, a collaboration between Italy’s Silk EV and China’s First Automobile Works (FAW)

China’s Belt and Road project has expanded its grounds, with the latest project being an ultra-luxury hypercar called the S9. In a statement released by Silk EV, an Italian engineering and design startup company, a collaboration with China’s FAW is ongoing to produce the electric car. The hypercar will add to FAW’s list of the Hongqi brand, a breed of EVs first made for China’s top government officials. The Hongqi brand means red flag and has recently been made available to the public. This production will occur in Italy’s Motor Valley, where brands like Lamborghini and Ferrari are produced.

“This vehicle will combine a dynamic, sustainable, and exclusive driving experience with the use of cutting-edge technology and innovation, delivering to China and the world the next generation of luxury new energy vehicles,” said Silk EV. The statement also revealed that Walter de Silva, former head of design for Volkswagen and mastermind behind popular brands such as Alfa Romeo, Audi, and Lamborghini, will design the S9. This partnership between FAW and Silk EV is unsurprising, seeing that China controls the bulk of the supply chain of EV technologies. Adding to the S9 to the well-known Hongqi brand has also made FAW a good fit for the Italian car designer.

The Belt and Road project has improved infrastructure projects and technology in many countries across Asia, Europe, and Africa. These projects include building railway lines, hydropower plants, dams, and bridges. The hypercar project crowns China’s efforts at establishing good diplomatic and economic relationships with other governments. Despite this initiative being branded as China’s way of inflicting huge debts on the beneficiaries to put them under the Beijing influence, China maintains that these projects are just opportunities to create more economic and political alliances for all parties’ benefit. Other critics claim that China is a monopoly seeing that these projects are required to use only Chinese construction companies.

Many EV companies in China are looking to expand their market outside of China. However, only Xpeng Inc., a Guangzhou-based company, has succeeded at this. The EV maker exported several electric cars to Norway in December last year. Following the government’s inclination towards renewable energy use, Chinese EV manufacturers are focused on meeting local consumers’ demands before venturing into the international market.

Italy was the first G7 nation to approve the Belt and Road initiative. This gesture may have played a role in making Silk EV China’s choice for the S9 project. FAW aims to become the new pacesetter in new energy vehicles. “It is a unique opportunity for FAW to build on its legacy of car making excellence in Jilin province, the center of China’s automotive heritage, integrated ecosystem, and world-class engineering, to become the new benchmark in new energy vehicles,” said FAW chairman, Xu Liuping.

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