China-based Internet entrepreneurs back Tesla rival NextEV
A group of wealthy internet entrepreneurs and investors in China are putting their money on NextEV, a rival to U.S. electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors Inc.
A NextEV spokesman said Monday that the investors hired ex-Ford Motor Co executive Martin Leach to create a global automaker. Besides Leach, the backers also recruited experts who have previous experience in BMW, Volkswagen, and of course, Tesla.
Investors of NextEV have less or no background on automotive and are hoping to come up with electric car companies. This endeavour is also backed by the Chinese government, which recently made changes to its laws to encourage non-automotive companies to invest in the car industry.
Some of the Chinese tech companies that invested or are considering investing in NextEV are Alibaba, Tencent, Xiaomi Technology, and Hillhouse Capital, which also invested in Uber.
According to Tesla spokesman Ricardo Reyes, they are happy that other people are using their Model S sedan and their business model, "whether they are large companies or well-funded startups."
Tesla is targeting to develop fully electric vehicles, its Model X SUV, which will start deliveries by the end of the third quarter this year. It also has ambitious sales targets in 2015, which need huge sales for the fourth quarter. It will also ramp up its Tesla Energy deliveries by the fourth quarter of this year.
Meanwhile, in other news about NextEV, British racer Oliver Turvey may come to an agreement withNextEV TCR team for the second season of the FIA Formula E Championship.
Having a NextEV based in Shanghai indicates that there is a shift to electric vehicles. The Chinese government has provided generous incentives to make production and sales of EVs more attractive for investors.
NextEV spokeswoman Jili Liu said, "The first model launched by NextEV will be an electric supercar."