The electric car joint venture Jidu Auto by Baidu and Geely wants to present its first model in a year. CEO Xia Yiping broke the news alongside an announcement for billions in investment.
According to the CEO, Jidu Auto plans to invest 50 billion yuan (6.4 billion euros) over the next five years. In the course of this, 2,500 to 3,000 employees are to be hired in the next two to three years, Xia Yiping told Yicai Global. The company has already built a core team of around 100 employees, he said.
Jidu Auto is expected to launch its first model at Auto China in April next year, followed by a new model every 12 to 18 months. Xia did not specify the segment in which the first and subsequent vehicles would be placed.
According to Xia, Baidu founder Robin Li values the project highly and will also play a key role in the development and design of the vehicles. However, the CEO did not go into further detail. In order to finance the development and the announced investments, a financing round will soon be completed. At the time of its founding, Baidu and Geely had provided the company with a share capital of two billion yuan (256 million euros).
Jidu Auto was officially founded in March, with Baidu holding 55 per cent of the shares. The rest is held by Geely Holding, which will also provide the production plants for the Baidu vehicles. However, as Xia pointed out, Geely is not just a contract manufacturer, but they have deep cooperation and share technologies.
The vehicles are to be based on Geely’s SEA platform, which the Chinese startup first unveiled in 2020. The platform is to enable vehicles from the A to E segment and even light commercial vehicles. Premium models with a large battery and all-wheel drive are therefore possible, but also affordable electric cars in the A-segment.
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