Major backing for NextEV

Reuters reports that a group of deep-pocketed China-based internet entrepreneurs and financial investors, including Tencent and Hillhouse Capital, is backing an effort to create NextEV, a new rival to US electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc.

The report claims the backers have hired ex-Ford Motor Co executive, Martin Leach to build a global automaker as well as recruited experts with previous experience at Tesla, BMW AG, Volkswagen AG and other major car companies.

The NextEV investors are among several Chinese technology entrepreneurs with little or no automotive background who are hoping to create new electric car companies. The effort is supported by the Chinese government, which recently changed rules to encourage investment by non-automotive companies.

Among the Chinese tech companies that have announced or are considering investments in electric car ventures are Alibaba, Xiaomi Technology and Leshi.

‘The first model launched by NextEV will be an electric supercar,’ NextEV spokeswoman Jili Liu told Reuters. ‘This EV supercar is expected to outperform all combustion (engine) supercars in the world.’