Chinese giant Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corporation (BAIC) teamed up with California-based startup company Atieva for overtaking Tesla Motors.
1/18/16 4:00 am chumakdenis 1
News about Tesla-killers has become so frequent that it has become kind of cliché to talk about them.
Millions of companies proclaim themselves being next ‘gods’ of EV industry, but in the end most of them end up in bankruptcy.
The thing is that you definitely need to have an ace in the hole for competing with one of the most prolific companies in the world.
The bold statements are not enough.
Nonetheless, when you’re backed by one of the most powerful and rich companies in the world, I reckon that all of your statements make sense.
Even more, I think when you have billions of dollars of financial support, Elon Musk will not be treating you like another useless kid that intends to make a name for himself on a rivalry with your company.
Well, it seems that Tesla finally has a real enemy.
Let’s delve into details and figure out more.
California-based startup company Atieva is being backed by Beijing Electric Vehicle Company, an offshoot of the Chinese state-owned Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corporation (BAIC), which already operates successful joint-ventures with Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler as well as Hyundai.
Together with a group of high-profile component and technology suppliers, BAIC and Atieva intend to develop a range of electric vehicles to be offered for sale globally.
In an official statement, BAIC has confirmed that it plans to become Atieva’s largest shareholder in a move aimed at providing the company, which is based in San Francisco, with the financial stability to realize its goal of challenging Tesla and the growing number of traditional automakers that are moving into the electric car ranks.
As well as providing key funding, BAIC will also provide Atieva with electric vehicle expertise through its new electric vehicle technical center, which was opened in Silicon Valley in October.
The Chinese automaker already sells a number of electric cars in the domestic Chinese market, including the BAIC E150 EV.
However, while the compact five-door hatchback relies on conventional 23.4kWh lithium-ion battery technology and boasts a claimed range of just 87 miles(140 kilometers) under the Chinese combined cycle test, the new electric car being developed with Atieva is rumored to use a much larger battery with more contemporary cell technology that will provide it with a theoretical range of more than 300 miles(482 kilometers).
Further details on the new joint-venture electric car remain unknown, although a basic sketch which featured on Atieva’s official website suggests it may have a sporting design similar in certain respects to the Tesla Model S.
A mission statement on the Atieva website said: “We’re redefining what a car can be by building an iconic new vehicle from the ground up. We’re a car company, not a design house. And we’re definitely not a traditional automaker."
A few words about Atieva Company
Atieva was founded in 2007 by Bernard Tse -- a Tesla VP and board member from 2003 to 2007 -- and Sam Weng, a former Oracle executive.
Unlike other automotive companies that start with vehicle design prototypes, the co-founders started Atieva to focus on advancing core electric vehicle technology. According to Google Patent Search, Atieva now holds over 100 patents for battery, motor, and control system technologies.
Representatives remain tight-lipped about the details, but at some point, Atieva decided to shift focus and design a consumer electric vehicle from scratch. For the past 7 months, the company has been hiring engineers to build its design team from about 100 to 300 key personnel. It recently moved to a larger facility in Menlo Park, CA and is actively looking for more real estate to develop vehicles.
Atieva’s website says the engineers who join the team will “work with some of the best, most accomplished minds in the industry,” and they claim that it’s no exaggeration.
Moreover, the company’s team currently includes many top ex-Tesla engineers who were critical to the initial design of the Model S. Combing through Atieva’s staff on LinkedIn, we found 12 employees who used to work for Tesla or about 10% of its current design team.
“Atieva is designing and creating a breakthrough electric car in the heart of Silicon Valley.”
“We’re redefining what a car can be, by building an iconic new vehicle from the ground up.”
When will we see the car?
The first model of ‘Tesla-killer’ is set to be unveiled as a concept at the 2016 Bejing Motor Show.
Well, not a lot of time has been left.
Let’s wait the new model to be unveiled and see if BAIC and Atieva will manage to overtake Tesla.