NextEV Formula e

As we reported earlier, there was a mysterious report by Reuters on the former chief operating officer of Ford Europe, Martin Leach who was on a staff-recruiting mission for a new electric car manufacturer that would be based mainly in China and California.

Now, there is another report from Reuters to dispel all rumours on the subject. This new company is called NextEV, and it is being backed by a group of wealthy China-based internet entrepreneurs and financial investors such as William Li, the founder of internet content provider Bitauto.com, Xiang Li, founder of automotive website autohome.com.cn, Richard Liu, founder of e-commerce site JD.com as well as Tencent and Hillhouse Capital.

“The first model to be launched by NextEV will be an electric supercar,” company spokeswoman Jili Liu told the news agency. “This EV supercar is expected to outperform all combustion (engine) supercars in the world,” Liu said, and it will make more than 1,000 hp and complete the century sprint within three seconds.

The first sports car is expected to debut in 2016, while a range of high-performance vehicles will soon follow suit. The latter, of course, will take on Tesla.

Tesla spokesman Ricardo Reyes told Automotive News that, “we’re happy to see other people use the Model S sedan and our business model as benchmarks, whether they are large companies or well-funded startups.”

Liu told Reuters that the company has hired experts with previous experience at BMW, Volkswagen and other major companies. She stated that Leach is currently trailblazing efforts to recruit hundreds of staff to work in San Jose, California, Shanghai, Munich, Beijing, Hong Kong and London. Leach’s role is as co-president, but no further details on the leadership structure of the car maker is available.

According to the publication, NextEV’s future recruits include Danilo Teobaldi, the former head of vehicle concepts at Italdesign Giugiaro, Juho Suh, a former senior designer at BMW and John Thomas, a former senior program director at Tesla – information which was apparently gleamed off their Linkedin profiles.