Chinese e-truck builder Windrose settles HQ in Belgium

According to the business newspaper De Tijd, Chinese electric truck builder Windrose is to establish its European headquarters and first workshop in Zele. Zele is considered the gateway for constructing an assembly plant for e-trucks in Antwerp port, potentially creating 3,000 jobs.

An “operational base” consisting of an office and a workshop will be set up on land belonging to the Gilbert De Clercq transport company in Zele. “This marks the first phase of our strategic roadmap and lays the foundation for future expansion,” says CEO Wen Han.

Assembly plant in Antwerp port area

According to the Windrose founder, the next phase involves “moving our operations to an industrial site in the Antwerp port area.” That is where “the research and development activities and the assembly plant” are to be located, Han says.

That factory would mainly assemble e-truck components made in China. Advanced discussions are underway with federal and Flemish investors, as well as SFPIM and PMV.

Cheaper than competitor

It had been clear for some time that Han was looking for an assembly plant site in Europe and that he was mainly angling for Antwerp. Windrose, for instance, set up a Belgian company at the end of April, which received a limited initial capital of 61,500 euros. The site in Antwerp should make some 10,000 e-trucks a year by 2027.

According to Han, the factory, research, and development center together account for some 3,000 jobs and an investment of 300 million euros. In addition, the CEO hopes to build a battery factory in France.

The start-up aims to offer an e-truck with 670 km of autonomy for 250,000 dollars, or almost half the price of current Daimler and other e-trucks.

The Windrose truck has a seat with a massage function, eight cameras that capture every angle of the truck, and a cabin space of 8.2 m³. In China, Windrose outsources its truck manufacturing to Anhui Jianghuai Automotive Group.

With Windrose’s first branch on European soil, the young Chinese start-up also escapes the increased import duties on Chinese e-cars envisaged by the European Union.

According to the European Commission, China is practicing unfair competition by generously subsidizing its car manufacturers. If nothing changes, additional duties of up to over 38% will be imposed from 4 July.

Decarbonizing EU’s road freight transport

According to some market research, the European e-truck industry is projected to grow from 0.76 billion euros in 2023 to 30.74 billion euros by 2032, exhibiting a compound annual growth of 58.60%. Despite significant growth in 2022, with 4,000 units registered, electrically chargeable vehicles comprised only 0.6% of the EU truck market last year.

In April, the European Commission also proposed an update to the EU’s CO2 regulation for trucks and buses. According to this revision, new units must reduce their carbon emissions by 90% by 2040.


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