Chinese tech giant Baidu gets into EV game with Geely

Geely will work with Baidu on a new automotive venture, the two companies said Monday.

Baidu, often billed as China’s Google, has already been involved in the automotive sector in the area of self-driving cars, having developed an open-source self-driving system known as Apollo that is being developed with help from a number of major automakers.

Baidu now plans to establish a new company to launch electric vehicles leveraging its own AI, connectivity, mapping and self-driving technologies, and Geely’s expertise in car manufacturing. The new company will be a subsidiary of Baidu, with Geely serving as a strategic investor.

Apple and Hyundai are reportedly working on a similar partnership, and another Chinese tech giant, Alibaba, has previously formed a venture with Chinese automaker SAIC to explore connectivity options in vehicles.

In the Baidu-Geely deal, the new electric vehicles will be based on the SEA (Sustainable Experience Architecture) modular EV platform unveiled by Geely last September. The platform is capable of spawning models from the subcompact segment right through to the mid-size segment, as well as car, SUV and light commercial body styles. A range of over 400 miles is possible, according to Geely, and there’s the potential to expand this as battery technology improves.

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The platform is expected to make its production debut later this year in a new vehicle from Geely-owned brand Lynk & Co.

It isn’t clear when the first vehicle developed by Baidu and Geely will arrive. It also isn’t clear whether the vehicle will be able to drive on its own.

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