Tesla Motors Inc all electric vehicles are so nice and so popular that a Chinese firm is making knockoff versions of them. LeTV, a China-based streaming video service is developing a Tesla-like car, says a report from the Wired. Should Elon Musk be worried or should he just accept this increasingly common kind of thing as flattery?
A car from scratch
LeTV is a popular service locally, and is sometimes referred to as the Netflix, Inc. of China. And, now in addition to its primary business of video-streaming it is adding a side project of making cars. It is said that the car from LeTV is an imitation of Tesla’s Model S. Even the name of the car, Le*Car is a close copy of Renault’s Le Car.
LeTV has poached experts from auto firms to create a team to work on the vehicle. The project is led by Tony Nie, founder of Lotus Engineering in China. His team comprises of 600 members, who have worked with major auto firms such as GM, BMW, Tesla Motors Inc and more. The Le*Car will make its debut at the Beijing Auto Show in April, and most likely, it won’t be the only entrant in the ‘Tesla knockoff’ category, the report says.
Tesla Model S- an inspiration for many
Separately, a 28-year-old Chinese entrepreneur, Huang Xiuyuan unveiled his own electric car project earlier this year. The car has been named Youxia Ranger X, a mash up of Tesla Model S and KITT from Knight Rider. With efforts from 50 engineers at Xiuyuan, the car is now ready in just 16 months.
It seems that the firm has copy and pasted the body and interior of the vehicle right from the Tesla Motors Inc playbook. The car looks a lot like Tesla Model S down to the tall touch-screen center console and the retracting door handles, says Mashable. Design cues have also been taken from Lexus, Audi and Maserati.
The X’s Knight Rider inspiration is “distinctly un-Tesla,” says Mashable. Knight Rider is a TV show from the 80s in which the lead had an artificially intelligent Pontiac Firebird Trans Am called KITT. It became iconic for its lit-up red grille among other things. The car has an LCD grille that lights up like KITT’s, displaying the firms logo and other visuals. The car is based on Android 5.1, which is also called KITT OS. The designer of the car is a reportedly big fan of Knight Rider.