CHINA'S super-premium smart electric vehicle (EV) maker BeyonCa plans to establish a research and development (R&D) hub in Singapore in the near future.
The announcement was made alongside the global debut of its BeyonCa Gran Turismo Opus 1.
"Singapore is an international metropolis and is Asia's R&D centre in many technical areas, especially artificial intelligence (AI) and health technologies.
"It has great potential to be a leading player in the intelligent AI sector. I'm looking forward to the synergy between Singapore's attitude towards innovation and BeyonCa, which will redefine the global intelligent EV landscape," said BeyonCa's founder and chairman Soh Weiming.
"The BeyonCa GT Opus 1 truly signifies what BeyonCa stands for as we set out to define the super-premium smart EV segment. The result of our team's work is the perfect combination of design, craftsmanship, comfort, sportiness and amazing experience.
"The 'smart' part is incredibly important in defining the super-premium EV space. Our philosophy is that technologies are here to serve a purpose but should not be the purpose itself.
"Rather, we will consolidate and integrate advanced technologies, and shift from function-driven to scenario-driven methodology. BeyonCa will offer users meaningful products with integrated super-premium user experience where users will enjoy the real value of services in the car, around the car, and beyond the car," he said.
BeyonCa has global offices in five cities across three countries, comprising three R&D offices in China, a design centre in Munich and a Singapore office that will become an R&D hub.
The company expects to roll out its first mass-produced car model in 2024, just as projected demand for premium smart EVs starts rising rapidly both in Asia and globally.
"When we are entrepreneurs, we must do things that matter most to people and their families, and consistently bring long-term values to society and our users. This is why we named the company BeyonCa — it stands for 'Beyond the Car'," Soh added.
The company has funding from international investors, with Dongfeng Group being one its strategic investment partners.
GT OPUS 1
Little is known about the brand's concept car other than that many of its design elements give it an edge over its competition.
"We have a vision of what the 'new premium' is in automotive design. This means exquisite presence, quality and style, while being unique in character. Making sure the Opus 1 showcases these qualities means we obsess over every single detail," said BeyonCa's chief design officer Dirk van Braeckel.
The award-winning designer has more than 40 years of automotive design experience, 20 of which were spent as chief designer who brought to life numerous GT models in recent history around the world.
"Take for example the 'Light of Life' logo, the way it comes alive when the owner approaches, then spreading its light, waking the entire frontend design.
"These details show the care we've taken to create the BeyonCa experience. Whether it's the V-shaped lines seen from different angles from the outside, or an interior design that allows customers to define their individuality with luxurious and bespoke choices, we've spared no effort to infuse qualities that will define a super-premium EV," he added.
BeyonCa's chief technology officer Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler said that a super-premium car brand needed a superior driving experience in addition to expressive, emotional design.
"Our quality standards are based on those of top European premium manufacturers. This means our surfaces will have light reflections without interruptions. All exterior body parts have a tolerance of +/-0.3mm, and the entire body has joint and protrusion tolerances of just +/- 0.5mm.
"Inside, we've joined forces with experienced craftsmen who set the highest standards when working with wood, leather and metal. All these factors, together with us making the complex software and hardware integration work seamlessly in the background, will give the driver what we call the 'joy of driving'. Furthermore, this is a part of our motorsport DNA, and we will have more to show in our Sport edition in the future," Rothenpieler added.
More than just the aesthetics, BeyonCa hopes to push the boundaries of "smart" to more than just processing power, sensors, cameras and software.
One of the more eye-catching details of the car is how the interior is supported by an AI-based smart cockpit that monitors the user's health status in real time and the world's first in-cabin cloud doctor service.
To that end, Dr Tim Guo, a cardiovascular specialist with more than 27 years' experience at numerous international hospital groups, has been appointed as the in-house chief health officer to supervise a team of "cloud doctors".
This is said to be the first of its kind service for the auto industry.
"We believe deep scenario-driven carmaking is BeyonCa's unique path. This path captures the art of carmaking and the technologies to transform cars and services into a synergistic whole," said Soh.
"As for use case scenarios, this means using the most intelligent methods to serve the varying needs of our users while providing them with an integrated super-premium user experience," he added.
BeyonCa's co-founder Christian Klingler said BeyonCa had a very clear idea to define what it meant to be a smart, super-premium car brand.
"We will enhance the characteristics of what makes something premium, including world-class quality.
"This quality is incredibly important to me throughout my career, and is both seen and felt, like when you first pick up a luxury bag or luggage. It can be achieved only by obsessing over every millimetre of what you are making.
"This philosophy permeates through BeyonCa, and it is combined with unbeatable world-class design. In our mission of making super premium smart EVs, we are convinced that different cultures, orientations and experiences coming together and merging is key to our success," Klingler added.