China’s Belt and Road Initiative has its first hypercar – loosely defined as the most superior of cars and a step up from a supercar.
Silk EV, a new automotive startup in Italy, recently announced it would be collaborating with China’s oldest car maker, First Automotive Works (FAW), to create the S9 – an all-electric hypercar.
Silk EV called the co-developed automotive an “ultra-luxury hypercar”.
The new vehicle will feature the Hongqi badge, one of FAW’s original brands.
Hongqi, which was founded in 1958, means “red flag”. The cars were originally built for senior government officials, but became a more common sight on Chinese roads in the early 1990s.
The operation’s headquarters will be in Motor Valley, a region of Italy roughly located between the towns of Modena, Maranello, and Bologna. It is affectionately known in motorsport communities as “the place where speed was born” as it is home to some of the planet’s most beloved sports cars – Ferrari, Pagani, Maserati, Ducati, Lamborghini, and De Tomaso.
Silk EV said renowned stylist, Walter de Silver, would be the lead designer for the ambitious project.
The car designer from Lecce, Italy, has designed cars for Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lamborghini, Audi, and Volkswagen since 1972.
De Silva is responsible for the
design of the Audi R8 (2006), Audi TT (2006), Alfa Romeo 147 (2000), and the VW
FAW chairman, Xu Liuping, said the S9 marked a major milestone in the Belt and Road Initiative’s history. Italy was the first G7 nation to endorse the Belt and Road Initiative in 2019, despite criticism from Washington DC.
Xu said the project would be a unique opportunity for FAW to continue to grow its legacy as an excellent automotive manufacturer while combining it with the racing heritage, luxury, and world-class engineering synonymous with Motor Valley.
Specifications for the S9 have not been released yet but the project will be an electric vehicle, according to the group’s announcement.
A concept version of the S9 was debuted at the 2019 Frankfurt International Motor Show.
In a pre-pandemic 2019, the hypercar market was valued at an estimated $13.7 billion, according to Polaris.