LeEco’s electric car division LeSEE has raised over $1 billion (Rs 7,239 crore) in funding from Yingda Capital Management, Shenzhen Capital Group, Legend Holdings, China Minsheng Trust, Macrolink Group and Hongzhao Fund, reports Mint. It will use the funds for building a ‘global electric transportation ecosystem.’ According to this Guardian report, LeSEE has 600 employees.
LeEco first introduced its electric car called the Autonomous Electric SuperCar before the Beijing auto show in April this year. According to a report from last month, LeEco plans to build a factory with an output of 400,000 cars starting next year by pumping in about $2 billion for this venture. The factory would be a part of its 20 billion yuan ‘Eco Experience Park Project’ where users can check out LeEco vehicles, content offerings and music streaming.
Note that LeEco’s founder Jia Yueting has also founded and funded Faraday Future, an American electric vehicle startup. LeEco also has connections to Atieva, an autonomous electric car startup from the US. In February this year, LeEco signed an MOU with Aston Martin to develop and produce Aston Martin RapidE, an electric vehicle concept.
Self driving taxis on the road in Singapore: Last month, self-driving taxis operated by nuTonomy started picking up passengers in Singapore. NuTonomy is an autonomous vehicle software startup which currently has only 6 cars on the street, with plans to double the number by the end of the year. As of now, the self-driving taxis only run in a 6.5 sqkm business and residential district called “one-north,” with the company providing users with invitations to experience the ride.
Uber’s autonomous cars: Interestingly, in the same month Uber said it would launch its self-driving cars in Pittsburgh in the US. The company had mentioned that it would deploy around 100 modified Volvo XC90s outfitted with self-driving equipment to kick off the project. It also acquired the self-driving driving truck technology company Otto, to help with its autonomous plans.
Tesla in India: In July, the Indian government invited electric car maker Tesla Motors to open a manufacturing hub and offered land at major port cities to facilitate export of Tesla’s cars to South East Asian countries. Nitin Gadkari, the transport minister, who had visited the company in California, also proposed joint ventures between Tesla and Indian car manufacturers to introduce electric cars in the country. Note that in April, Tesla Motors announced that it would launch the relatively lower priced Model 3 car in India, Brazil, South Africa, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore and Ireland. The Model 3 is set for launch in late 2017, and is likely be delivered to pre-order customers outside the US by 2018.
Autonomous cars in the US: In February this year, the US vehicle safety regulators said that the artificial intelligence system piloting a self-driving Google car could be considered as the driver under federal law. This move cleared a major hurdle for making autonomous cars legally acceptable.