Analysis
13 Jun 18

The new Car Manufacturers

Not a week goes by without new developments in the Chinese NEV (New Electric Vehicle) arena. Funding rounds, technology, pre-launches and more funding rounds follow each other up. Time for an overview of the different players.

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BYTON

Where? Byton’s headquarters are based in Nanjing, China. They have 3 other locations in China (Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing) as well one location in the US (Santa Clara) and Germany (Munich).

Team? CEO Carsten Breitfelt is ex-BMW and used to be in charge of the i8 program. President of the company is Daniel Kirchert, ex-Dongfeng Infiniti and BMW Brilliance, a specialist in the premium car market in China. CFO is the Chinese Albert Li, ex-Bombardier and ex-Ford China, experienced in M&As.

Funding? “Future Mobility”, the real name of the company producing Byton, is worth USD 200 Million, coming from 2 funding rounds. Lead investors are Tencent Holdings and Suning.

Latest developments? FAW and Byton signed an investment and cooperation agreement on April 20th. FAW will join the next round fundraising and both brands will be working together in R&D, manufacturing, sales and services.

Xiaopeng Motors

Where? Xiaopeng is based in Guangzhou.

Team? Xiaopeng He, Chairman is ex-Alibaba and founded previously UCWeb, a mobile internet software provider. UCWeb was acquired by Alibaba in 2014, at that time the largest M&A in the Chinese internet industry. Heng Xia is the president and Tao He is the Vice-President. Tao has was in charge of a new energy bus system for Shanghai Expo.

Funding? USD 706.2 million in 4 rounds. Lead investors are Capital Investors (IDG, GGV, Matrix), but unsurprisingly also Alibaba, Foxconn and chauffeured car service provider UCAR.

Latest developments? Xiaopeng has announced a new funding round, hoping to raise USD 2.7 Billion. They’re aiming at Chinese and non-Chinese investors & plan to take on Tesla and NEV start-ups. The pre-sales of the G3 crossover has started in China.

NIO

Where? 4 corporate offices: Munich, London, Shanghai and San Jose plus 8 other offices, mainly in China

Team? NIO’s team is composed of many people from in/outside the car industry. William Li is the founder and CEO Padmasree Warrior, ex-Spotify and ex-Microsoft are the most popular faces. NIO, Sequoia and Hillhouse Capital have founded NIO Capital, a group holding who manages the “New Energy Development Fund”. William Li is founder, Chairman and CEO. He’s a “serial entrepreneur” and has been awarded multiple times for his work in the Chinese automotive industry. Ian Zhu, ex AT&T and routined investor, is the fund manager of NIO Capital.

Funding? NIO is funded for USD 2.1 Billion in 4 funding rounds. The lead investors are Sequoia, Tencent, Baidu and Joy Capital. NIO Capital is worth $1.9B.

Latest developments? NIO has been awarded the “Best of the Best” red dot award 2018 for its home charging system NIO Power Home.

WM Motor Technology

Where? WM Motor is based in Shanghai. WM stands for “Weltmeister”, German for champion or in Chinese “Weima”, which stands for “Powerful Horse”.

Team? The company is founded by ex-Geely’s (Volvo) Freeman Shen who’s described as the “only executive in China with first hand experience in managing global automotive companies”. Napoleon Du, ex-Philips, ex-Briggs and Stratton and ex-Kraft is executive VP of the Board.

Funding? USD 1.2 Billion in 4 rounds. Lead investors are Baidu and Tencent

Latest developments? The company has a team looking into an IPO in the United States, Hong Kong or China. It’s the company’s objective to sell locally (i.e. in China) and offer affordable alternatives to the NEV OEM’s above. WM is much more focused on volume than the other ones and hopes to produce up to 200.000 units per year.

Faraday Future

Where? Faraday is headquartered in Los Angeles, but due to its ties with owner company LeEco, a Chinese consumer electronics company, many consider Faraday to be part of the Chinese NEV group.

Team? CEO is Jia Yueting, who is also founder and chairman of LeEco (internet, tech, big data). Faraday has seen some of its execs leave the company in 2017, after rumours of financial trouble. Other team members include former employees ofTesla, Apple, Ferrari, Lamborghini,…

Funding? USD 2 Billion out of 2 funding rounds. Faraday was largely supported by LeEco, until this company’s funding started to dry up. The end of Faraday was near when, in December 2017, a USD 1 Billion was announced by its then-new CEO Jia Yueting, who is said to have hundreds of millions in debt. The origin of the USD 1B is not disclosed, but seems to come from a Hong-Kong investor.

Latest developments? Faraday should have started the production of its 1000hp FF91 in what would have become its Las Vegas plant. Unfortunately, Faraday was not capable of paying its construction partner and the construction of the plant was stopped and the entire production unit moved to a former Pirelli plant in California. Surprisingly, a company called Ruichi Intelligent Automobile Co. acquired a large piece of land in Guangdong. Ruichi is also linked to Faraday and used to be called Faraday Future Hong Kong Holdings Ltd.

Singulato Motors

Where? Singulato’s (or Zhiche Auto) is a Beijing based company with 2 plants in Suzhou and Tongling. Kyoto (JP) based Green Lord Motors is said to produce the electric engines for Singulato.

Team? CEO and co-founder is Shen Haijun, who occupied many positions in Chinese and Japanese tech companies prior to starting up Singulato.

Funding? USD 1.1 Billion, in 2 funding rounds. Lead investors are Qihoo 360, a software company and former employer of Shen, GX Capital and TaoYun Beijing Investment Fund, that seems to be created for Singulato (unlike most investment funds, TaoYun has put money in one company only – Singulato)

Latest developments? Singulato has announced to invest USD 2.39 in Suzhou and employ up to 3000 researchers in the city.

AIWAYS

Where? Shanghai and Germany

Team? Fu Qiang is co-founder and president; Wang Dongchen, vice president and chief technology officer. More interesting: Roland Gumpert is the Chief Product Manager of Aiways. Gumpert was the founder of the regretted GMG, the German company that built the Apollo Supercar, and now the CEO of the German subsidiary.

Funding? AIWAYS has raised CNY 1.2 billion (USD 181.5 million) in angel funding and received an undisclosed amount from Shagang Group (said to be about USD 158 million) in an A-Series funding in 2018. The second and third funding rounds are already announced, aiming to achieve a total valuation of about USD 1.5 Billion.

Latest developments? AIWAYS announced its ambitious model launch plan, starting end of this year with the U5 ION (SUV EV). The manufacturer promised one new model, every 6 to 8 months, based on the same platform.

Youxia Motors

Where? Shanghai

Team? Very little information available about the team, except that they “once served at famous auto makers and internet companies, such as BMW, GM”.

Funding? Youxia has always been careful not to disclose the size of its funding rounds, but the company is said to be valuated at about USD 1 Billion before the B-Rounds were closed in March this year. Analysts say that the total value would now reach USD 2 Billion. The lead investors are investment groups

Latest developments? Mostly about investments, little about vehicles. One vehicle is constantly shown on presentations and corporate videos, a Tesla S lookalike.

Dearcc

Where? Shanghai

Team? Zhang Hailiang, chairman and CEO and Niu Shengfu are both ex LeSee (LeEco). Design of the new A+ electric EV is in the hands of Ulrich Hackenberg, who has previously designed the Porsche Cayenne.

Funding? Unknown

Latest developments? DearCC is one of the few on this list who have gained qualification for the production of EVs. DearCC has just announced an upgrade of their EV10 (range from 165km to 270km)

Authored by: Yves Helven