Chinese EV Startup That Clones Teslas Just Received $350 Million

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And Tesla is totally cool with the cloning.

You may not have heard of Chinese EV startup Xiaopeng Motors before, and it may or may not continue to be in the news. It all depends on how things go business wise. For now, things seems to be going pretty well. Electrek reports that Xiaopeng Motors has just secured a $348 million investment by two huge Chinese companies: Alibaba and Foxconn. So far, Xiaopeng Motors has produced just one concept, the all-electric SUV pictured here since it was founded by a guy named Henry Xia in 2014.

Called the Xpeng, it doesn't really look all that much like a Tesla from the outside. Open its doors, however, and the Tesla influence can't be hidden. But that's okay, even for Elon Musk. Why? Because Xia admitted his company was taking advantage of Tesla's open-source patents. Xia, an engineer by training, saw an opportunity to get something off the ground and went for it, but seems to have done so wisely. After all, Tesla tech works and he didn't even have to steal it, a common practice amongst Chinese brands. Just look at the Landwind X7 compared to the Range Rover Evoque. Enough said. We don't know exactly which patents the Chinese startup has utilized, but Electrek believes battery pack technology is a very likely possibility.

You should also look at the Xpeng's interior. Compare its large touchscreen and overall dash layout to a Tesla Model S or Model X. The Xpeng SUV's battery pack is said to have a range of up to 186 miles on a single charge and will also come with similar autonomous and assisted driving features found on Tesla's Autopilot. Again, Xiaopeng Motors isn't denying its use of Tesla patents. That's apparently good enough to receive that huge investment from two of China's most successful companies.

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