New kid on the electric block

A Chinese joint venture aims to pull the rug from under Tesla’s feet by mass producing electric self-driving cars before 2020.

Automotive venture Future Mobility, backed by tech giants Tencent, is aiming to capitalise on a boom in sales of green energy cars in the country. It hopes to manufacture between 250,000 and 400,000 vehicles per year.

CEO Carsten Breitfeld said, ‘Right from the beginning we define the platform, right from the beginning we define the production process to be mass production and right from the beginning we think of more than one model, a family of models, defined from this platform.’

Future Mobility’s first model will a fully autonomous, according to Reuters, although at first drivers will only be able to turn on full autonomy in a pilot city. Future Mobility is not the first new company to promise fast-paced development, but its leadership team adds weight to its statements.

Carsten Breitfeld formerly led the BMW i series electric car division and brought the core team with him to Future Mobility, with others joining from Tesla, Google and Daimler’s Mercedes.

Another upstart car manufacturer, Chinese-invested Atieva, has said it aims to launch an electric car by 2018, while Tesla now aims to produce 500,000 cars annually by 2018.