A company called Future Mobility Corp. may stand out in a crowded field of Chinese startups as it gets ready to roll out a self-driving electric car.
Yesterday it announced that will be introducing its first electric self-driving car by 2020. The first round of funding for that car is expected to be completed by September, the company said.
Future Mobility is being backed by large investors, including internet giant Tencent Holdings, electronics manufacturer Foxconn, and car dealership group China Harmony New Energy Auto Holding. In March, Future Mobility was able to recruit its leadership team from BMW’s electric vehicle line; in May, at least two executives from Tesla Motors came on board as well.
CEO Carsten Breitfeld, who previously headed up the BMW’s team for the i8 plug-in hybrid, said that unlike Tesla, Future Mobility will not focus on only one model at a time or have limited production of its models.
Its first car will cost about 300,000 yuan (about $45,000), and will be sold in China, Europe and the U.S., according to Chief Operating Officer and co-founder Daniel Kirchert. The company is also going on a hiring spree, and will employ 600 people by the end of 2017, up from the current core group of about 50, Kirchert said.
Kirchert also said the company was currently “mainly talking to mainland-based investors as well as investors that are publicly traded in Hong Kong. But going forward we will consider investors from Europe and the U.S. given that we are running a pretty open platform.”