CHINESE CLUB TOGETHER TO BUILD ELECTRIC A SUPERCAR TO RIVAL TESLA
A group of deep-pocketed China-based Internet entrepreneurs and financial investors, including Tencent and Hillhouse Capital, is backing an effort to create NextEV, a new rival to US electric car maker Tesla Motors.
Hillhouse is also an investor in Uber, the US ride sharing service. The backers have hired ex-Ford Motor executive Martin Leach to build a global automaker, a NextEV spokesperson said yesterday. The backers have also recruited experts with previous experience at Tesla, BMW AG, Volkswagen AG and other major car companies.
The NextEV investors are among several Chinese technology entrepreneurs with little or no automotive background who are hoping to create new electric car companies. The effort is supported by the Chinese government, which recently changed rules to encourage investment by non-automotive companies.
NextEV’s supercar is expected to debut in 2016. It will be designed to produce more than 1 000 horsepower and accelerate from 0 to 100km an hour within three seconds, Liu said. A range of high-performance family cars will follow.
NextEV is being backed by Chinese Internet company Tencent; William Li, founder of Internet content provider Bitauto.com; Xiang Li, founder of automotive Web site autohome.com.cn, and Richard Liu, founder of e-commerce site JD.com. Hillhouse Capital, which was started with seed money from Yale University, is also a backer, NextEV said.
NextEV did not want to disclose the extent of its financial backing. The company will initially sell only in China.