Tesla faces automated mobility rivals from Geely and Baidu EV

Bloomberg – Competition in China’s automated driving landscape is heating up with the arrival of the Jiyue 01, the first electric vehicle from a joint venture between Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. and Chinese search and technology giant Baidu Inc. (BIDU).

Launched on Friday, the SUV is powered by Baidu’s Apollo platform, which has been in development for 10 years and has been used in self-driving vehicles since 2016.

Although the Jiyue 01 continues to display a highly accurate map for assisted driving, is evolving towards pure vision, which primarily uses cameras to assess the surrounding environment. Likewise, Tesla avoids more expensive Lidar and ultrasonic radars.

“Tesla is a pioneer in the field of smart cars and a global leader in sales,” Luo Gang, chief operating officer of Geely-Baidu Jiyue Company, said at a briefing. “But in terms of handling and user interface, I think we’d win. Compared to Model Y, which is the most similar to our car, in terms of space, design and interior, I personally think Jiyue 01 is better.”

China is the world’s largest market for electric cars, and dozens of brands are trying to stand out with new technologies. Although the Tesla Model Y is one of the best-selling EVs, the system it markets as fully autonomous driving is not available in the country.

Other rivals are Xpeng Inc. (XPEV) and Huawei Technologies Co., which have also developed sophisticated automated driving systems that allow vehicles to drive autonomously and park themselves.

Safety concerns

Chinese law has not yet defined whether the driver or the assisted driving system would bear legal responsibility in the event of an accident. Most manufacturers They take a cautious approach and stick to Level 2 technology, where the vehicle can steer, accelerate or brake, but a human remains behind the wheel and is always responsible for the controls.

Tesla is facing several lawsuits over its feature Autopilotwhile Cruise, the driverless taxi unit of General Motors Co. just went out of business after her California license was suspended in connection with an accident with a pedestrian.

The Jiyue 01 has a range of up to 720 kilometers with a battery from Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., the world’s largest battery manufacturer. The SUV will cost 249,900 yuan ($34,150), which is slightly less than Huawei’s Aito M5, which starts at 259,800 yuan. The Tesla Model Y and Xpeng G9 SUV are slightly more expensive, starting at 263,900 yuan.

Jiyue 01 can process voice commands for functions such as opening windows or playing video. The service also works without an Internet connection, Luo said.

The Jiyue 01’s journey to market has been delayed as Beijing tightens licensing for electric car production. After initially providing subsidies and encouraging the rapid growth of the sector, the government stopped aid and limited the number of new entrants.

In order to start selling its new SUV, Geely, which has a manufacturing permit, formed a majority-owned Jiyue joint venture in August. Baidu has 35%.

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