Chinese electronics giant LeEco is backing U.S. electric car startup Faraday Future, but it also has an electric car project of its own going on. It’s a self-driving luxury sedan set to debut next week at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show.
LeEco (formerly LeTV) calls it the LeSee, short for Le Super Electric Ecosystem. It was shown briefly at a press conference for LeEco’s electronics line this week, where founder Jia Yueting summoned it on stage by talking into his phone. That’s not unlike the “Summon” feature available on the Tesla Model S, a car the LeSee seems to target.
The concept appears to be based on the Le Supercar announced by LeEco/LeTV last year. That car was only shown in sketches, but was described by its maker as a Tesla rival. Hopefully, LeEco will further explain the LeSee’s identity and features in more detail at the car’s auto-show debut next week. Besides the autonomous-driving capability and electric powertrain, there are no other real details available right now.
LeEco’s Jia believes electric cars are a logical extension of his company’s business because they can provide another platform for the streaming services that earned LeEco the nickname “China’s Netflix.” After all, if autonomous cars ever take off like many people believe they will, commuters will suddenly have more free time on their hands to watch movies and TV shows.
In addition to backing Faraday Future and designing its own concept car, LeEco is also partnering with Aston Martin on development of the British firm’s RapidE electric car. This is an all-electric version of the Rapide sedan that Aston CEO Andy Palmer has said will boast 1,000 horsepower. The partnership will allow LeEco to absorb some of Aston’s automotive experience, while the carmaker will get help developing infotainment and other electronics systems.
Meanwhile, Faraday Future broke ground on its $1 billion factory in North Las Vegas, Nevada, earlier this month. The company has said it will begin production within two years, but also notes that there is no set opening date for the factory. Nevada lawmakers put together an incentive package to attract Faraday, but are already concerned the company won’t be able to fulfill its promises.