Hybrid Kinetic, Pininfarina will unveil ‘eco’ car

Chinese electric-car startup Hybrid Kinetic Group will reveal the Pininfarina-designed H600 concept at the Geneva auto show on March 7, previewing a potential rival to the Tesla Model S.

Pininfarina said on Monday that it has signed a trade agreement with Hybrid Kinetic to support the Hong Kong-based company in the turnkey development of an electric car from its styling to engineering to validation for series production.

The H600 is an “eco-sustainable luxury sedan,” the Italian design and engineering company said.

Pininfarina, which is controlled by India’s Mahindra, said the value of its cooperation agreement with Hybrid Kinetic is 65 million euros ($68.7 million).

Hybrid Kinetic Group, earlier called HK Motors, is headed by billionaire Yung Benjamin Yeung, who founded Brilliance China Automotive.

Yeung made headlines in 2009 when he announced a highly ambitious plan to build a car plant in Alabama in the U.S. that would start production in 2013 and eventually ramp up to build 300,000 cars a year by 2018.

The project was to be funded by wealthy investors who in return for their cash would gain a U.S. Green Card in line with a visa initiative designed to attract foreign money to create local jobs.

HK Motors had initially signed with Italdesign to create its cars. Former chairman Giorgetto Giugiaro described the $500 million contract in 2010 as by “far the biggest” order won by the design house in its 42-year history.

HK Motor’s plan foundered in 2011 when it said it hadn’t raised the required financing to fund the Alabama factory.