The U.S.-Chinese startup Silk-FAW, which plans to build high performance electric cars in Italy and China, has appointed Li Chongtian as a new member of its board of directors.
Chongtian, who has a degree in engineering, is currently head of FAW Capital Holding, which is responsible for FAW’s external investments. He is also involved in FAW’s financing and automotive insurance units.
The appointment, effective January 13, has been endorsed by the Chinese government, FAW’s main shareholder.
Chongtian’s “appointment is further validation of the stability and multiculturalism of this ambitious project and allows us to implement a successful long-term business plan in a highly competitive sector,” said Katia Bassi, Silk-FAW’s managing director
Silk-FAW is a joint venture between Silk EV and FAW Group. It was first announced in February 2021.
The venture plans to invest up to 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) to design, develop and build high performance electric cars with production planned in Italy and China.
The cars are being styled by Volkswagen Group’s former design chief Walter de Silva.
The first model will be the S9 hypercar, first shown as a concept model at the 2019 Frankfurt auto show. Three other models are planned — the S7, S5, and S3.
Roberto Fedeli, the company’s new chief technology officer, said in a December interview with Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore, that Silk-FAW production in Italy will be 7,000 units per year, of which 150 per year will be the S9 supercar.
Silk-FAW plans to start production of the S9 at the beginning of 2023 in a new plant near the Italian city of Reggio Emilia. The area is home to Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini.
According to the company, the S9 has a newly developed plug-in-hybrid drivetrain with a mid-mounted gasoline engine supported by an electric motor and a further two electric motors on the front axle, one for each front wheel.
The engine is a 4.0-liter V-8 unit with 838 hp (905 hp combined with the motor). The two additional 195-kilowatt electric motors increase the power to 1,400 hp.
The S9 is all-wheel drive and has an 8-speed transmission.
Silk-FAW has hired a number of longtime automotive executives alongside.
Fedeli is a former Ferrari and BMW executive, while Former Ferrari CEO, Amedeo Felisa, is acting as an advisor to the startup.
Paolo Gabrielli, a former FCA, Porsche and Lamborghini executive, was appointed chief commercial officer in December.