As the market leader for electric vehicles, Tesla Inc TSLA is being pursued by other electric vehicle upstarts and legacy automakers.
An electric vehicle company backed by a leading search engine in China is the latest to call out its potential to one day pass Tesla.
What Happened: Jidu Auto is an electric vehicle company backed by Baidu Inc BIDU and Geely Automobile Holding ADR GELYY. The company has bold aspirations to grow in the electric vehicle space and be a market leader in autonomous driving.
Speaking at a partner conference in Shanghai, Baidu CEO Robin Li recently predicted the company’s dominance in the autonomous driving space with the ROBO-01 vehicle, as reported by Teslarati.
Li said the company’s autonomous driving technology will be a generation ahead of Tesla according to the report.
“For smart cars, our judgment is that electrification is the halftime game and intelligence is the endgame,” Li said.
The Baidu CEO said Jidu could become the standard for smart cars.
The ROBO-01 has a 3D borderless integrated screen, butterfly doors, an offline intelligent voice assistant and “zero-gravity seating” among its key features.
Launched in March 2021, Jidu Auto features vehicles built on the Sustainable Experience Architecture platform from Geely and features Baidu’s autonomous driving technology.
Why It’s Important: Jidu Auto has plans to deliver 800,000 robot cars by the year 2028. The company’s first production model is set to be launched in late 2022. A second production model could be unveiled at an auto show later in 2022.
Mass production is planned for robotaxis in 2024 by Tesla.
Teslarati points out that Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta is not yet available in China, which could give Baidu a head start in the autonomous driving sector and also make it harder down the road with competition from Tesla.
Baidu recently highlighted being the only company to offer fully driverless robotaxi services in China, without human drivers in the car. China is the first country to allow fully driverless robotaxi operations in the world with two megacities among the first markets.
Geely, which is backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway BRKABRKB, is one of the largest electric vehicle companies in the world and was credited with passing Tesla for electric vehicle production by some publications when plug-in vehicles were also factored in.
Beating Tesla in the electric vehicle race may be a tough task, but Baidu seems confident it can at least turn out better robotaxi vehicles going forward. The race for electric and autonomous vehicles continues to heat up and the majority of companies are comparing themselves to Tesla.
BIDU Price Action: Baidu shares were down 0.59% to $135.60 at market close on Tuesday versus a 52-week trading range of $101.61 to $182.60. After-hours trading saw shares up 0.26% to $135.95 a share.
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