MAPNA, Bam Khodro Form JV to Manufacture Electric Vehicles

MAPNA, Bam Khodro Form JV to Manufacture Electric Vehicles
MAPNA, Bam Khodro Form JV to Manufacture Electric Vehicles

Iran has joined the global electric vehicle race, as the domestic engineering and energy giant, MAPNA Group, and Bam Khodro, a subsidiary of Kerman Motor Company, are gearing up to jointly produce EVs.
During a Sunday event, MAPNA Electric and Control Engineering and Manufacturing Company (MECO) and Bam Khodro set up a joint venture for the design and production of A- and B-class EVs and the development of relevant technologies, MAPNA’s Public Relations Office reported.
In the first phase, the deal calls for the production of public electric vehicles. As a result, MECO will be responsible for the cars' engines, batteries and electronic systems.
The bus cabins, trimmings and mechanical parts will be made by Bam Khodro.
The associated firms will shortly release a prototype with a 15 kWh battery that will enable the bus to travel 100 kilometers at an average speed of 80 kilometers per hour.
The vehicles are managed by automated EV controller software, which allows the drivers to open doors and navigate.
Passenger fare payment and reservation are also made feasible by the controller.
MAPNA has developed electric subsystems for passenger and public vehicles, and successfully tested 20 electric vehicle prototypes, demonstrating that the company is ready to join EV manufacturers after years of research and efforts.
Bam Khodro, as the engineering group says, can be a good partner because it is already using cutting-edge technologies in auto production.
According to MAPNA experts, the large number of urban travels via the public transportation system, particularly in metropolises like Tehran, calls for diverse transport vehicles for offering decent services.
That was the driving force pushing the engineering group to form a joint venture with Bam Khodro.


Alliance With IKCO

Last summer, MAPNA Group and major automaker Iran Khodro Company (IKCO) geared up to jointly produce EVs.
After successfully testing 20 EV prototypes in June, MAPNA joined hands with IKCO to mass produce electric vehicles.
Considering the investments made in the field and tapping into MAPNA’s potentials, IKCO is expected to speed up its move toward EV production.
Abbas Aliabadi, CEO of the engineering group, said, “MAPNA hopes to boost Iran’s auto supply chain. The simultaneous development of software and hardware is the basis of developing electric vehicles. Local production of all parts is high on MAPNA’s agenda. Although the work is still in the preliminary stage, we have made headways.”
Underlining the necessity of serious and hard work for manufacturing electronic vehicles in Iran, Aliabadi emphasized that even if domestic automakers show reluctance, MAPNA will continue to tread the path it has embarked on. 
Since last summer, IKCO expressed interest in utilizing the potentials of Iranian tech firms and knowledge-based companies for entering the field.
The automaker also discussed the capabilities of local tech firms for designing EVs, in cooperation with the Vice Presidential Office for Science and Technology.
Farshad Moqimi, the head of IKCO, said he is keen on backing knowledge-based companies active in automotive industries.


 Previous Measures

MAPNA is the first local company to pave the way for the launch of EVs in the country by setting up charging stations. 
The company is working on establishing EV charging stations in all Iranian provinces as a vital infrastructure for promoting zero emission vehicles in the country.
According to Aliabadi, Mashhad in Khorasan Razavi Province is the second city to house an electric charging station following the pioneering launch in Tehran.
Iran’s first EV charging station was set up at Tehran’s Milad Tower in May 2019 by MAPNA. 
Built over 700 square meters, the station includes a 43-kilovolt alternating current charger, plus a fast charger working under the CHAdeMO Protocol, a trade name of a quick charging method for electric vehicles, which suits Japanese and South Korean EV brands such as Kia, Nissan and Mitsubishi.
The station also includes a 4.7-kv slow charger and a 5.5-kv charger that can be used by electric motorcycles.
Aliabadi noted that the technology of producing electric vehicles is being taught in world universities for over 30 years now. He expressed his company's readiness to collaborate with car manufacturers and Tehran Taxi Organization to upgrade the country’s transport system with the help of EV technology.
“It is high time we invest in EVs," he declared, urging local carmakers to pay more attention to EVs.
Adding that the group has already started working on EV technology, Aliabadi said, “MAPNA has been working to bridge the technological gap, especially concerning the capacity of car batteries. Fortunately, noticeable progress has been made, but still more investment should be made in producing batteries.”

Global Race

Developing EVs and replacing fossil fuel-powered cars with vehicles running on clean energy have been high on the carmakers’ agenda around the globe, with leading carmakers investing billions in research and development, and governments offering incentives for promoting the production and sale of such cars.
In addition to common challenges facing the global EV markets, Iranian officials and automakers need to establish the infrastructure using diverse technologies related to power equipment, electric motors, control systems and batteries.
Jean Christophe Quemard, the executive vice president of PSA Group—a French multinational manufacturer of automobiles sold under the Peugeot, Citroen and Opel brands, said last year that while the global automotive industry is undergoing profound changes, it seems that Iranian automotive companies and policymakers have little interest in autonomous or electric vehicles.
Quemard believes that the changes will eventually reach Iran.
Demand for clean energy is gradually gaining traction both in the developed and developing world. 
Besides shifting to eco-friendly fuel and renewable energy, nations are interested in keeping their environment clean by reducing the number of fossil-fuel vehicles. 
Countries leading the campaign for clean energy are China, Germany, the UK, Norway and France.

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