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Sokon launches US-based electric car division SF Motors with Tesla co-founder as consultant

Last year, we reported on Chongqing Sokon Industry Group, an important Chinese manufacturer of motorcycles and commercial vehicles, launching a new division, SF Motors, in order to develop electric vehicles in the US.

Today, the company officially launched SF Motors and inaugurated its new headquarters in the heart of Silicon Valley.

The company came to our attention after Tesla co-founder and original CEO Martin Eberhard resurfaced as a consultant for the startup.

In a press release today, Sokon reiterated Eberhard’s involvement:

“The company has also brought on electric vehicle pioneer, Martin Eberhard, to serve as a key advisor to the brand. With his expert guidance, the company aims to become a leader in the clean energy transportation space.”

While Eberhard’s involvement is interesting, we recently learned that it isn’t his main gig since he recently launched his own electric vehicle startup – ‘InEVit’.

Tesla’s early history came up on the Twitter feed of Elon Musk, Tesla’s current CEO, last week and Musk briefly commented on Eberhard’s new effort:

Back to Sokon’s SF Motors. They describe their new headquarters:

“The structure, which is located in central Santa Clara, California, stands four stories tall, is approximately 80,000 square feet, is adorned with modern white spaces and bold, multi-colored accents, and includes a state-of-the art garage filled with EV charging stations symbolizing the company’s commitment to electric transportation.”

Here are a few pictures:

SF Motors CEO, John Zhang, commented on the move:

“In order to establish a West Coast presence and reach our goal of becoming a leader in the US EV market, SF Motors decided to build a solid foundation here in Silicon Valley. As we expand our operations and R&D efforts, we hope to partner with like-minded corporations and recruit the top automotive and tech talent to ensure attainable, clean mobility for future generations.”

They already have 50 employees on location and plan to add over 100 employees by the end of the year – creating even more competition for engineers with experience working on electric vehicles in Silicon Valley. SF Motors’ Chief Technology Officer is Tesla’s former Principal Motor Engineer, Yifan Tang, who also worked for Lucid Motors and Facebook.

He designed the electric motors of “Roadster, Model S and other production electric cars (Mercedes B-Class and Toyota RAV4) and Model X AWD prototype car.” Two other drive unit engineers from Tesla joined Tang at SF Motors.

The company also has a facility in Ann Arbor. It’s a R&D center focusing on “engineering and E-powertrain design”. They also plan to add 100 employees in Michigan by the end of the year.

It’s still too early to have a clear idea of what they are working on, but it’s more money being invested in electric vehicles.

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