Life Auto Chinese billionaire hatching a Tesla rival
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Chinese billionaire hatching a Tesla rival

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The owner of what’s billed as China’s Netflix, Jia Yueting, has announced he’s entering the car-making business and will reveal an all-new Tesla rival at the Beijing motor show in April 2016.

The news, accompanied by official renderings of how the pure electric concept is shaping up, follows the surprise announcement in April that Aston Martin was in talks to collaborate with the LeTV brand owned by Yueting.

Aston Martin is also known to be producing all-electric car technology for its forthcoming Rapide and DBX SUV and could share research and development, plus car-making expertise with the Chinese start-up.

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Not that LeTV will need it, according to business news website fastcodesign.com, which has reported that Yueting has already cashed in $US1.2b of his own personal shares in LeTV to develop his Tesla rival by himself.

It’s also suggested that Yeuting has employed (poached) 600 engineers, designers and car industry execs from the likes of Tesla, BMW and GM to create the car.

Heading up the project is former Lotus employee, Tony Nie, who was headhunted by Yueting a year ago.

The car will reportedly be self-driving.
The car will reportedly be self-driving.

Nie, speaking to fastcodesign.com, said his new employees (based in China and the US) “bring very good experience. They’ve done this before, they know how to avoid a mistake. They’ve learned the lessons already, so they can help us to move faster, and do something really different.”

Nie says both the motor and battery technology were all being developed in-house, mirroring Tesla’s approach.

The Le Supercar is also expected to feature the latest self-driving technology.

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It’s not the first time Yueting has broken away from media business.

LeTV also makes China’s best-selling smartphone and has also branched out into the TV manufacturing – both technologies expected to feature on the Le Supercar.

According to reports Yueting wants the Le Supercar (the ‘Le’ translates to ‘happy’ in Mandarin) to be on sale as soon as possible, which could mean as early as 2017.

Part of the reason, according to Nie, for pushing ahead with his plans to make a Tesla rival is the Le Supercar will incorporate LeTV’s Android-based operating system, which means the electric vehicle would also feature the apps and revenue-generating features already on its smart phones.

“We believe when you put the big screen and the service with the apps into the electric vehicle, you can use this as a portal as well, and reach the customer,” Nie says.

“That’s a main reason we want to develop this electric vehicle.”

This article originally appeared on Motoring.com.au. All images via Motoring.com.au.

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