Atieva, a Bay Area company building what it calls "a breakthrough electric car" aimed right at conquering the Tesla Model S, has just scored major backing from Chinese state-owned carmaker Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation (BAIC). The Chinese firm will become Atieva's largest shareholder via its Beijing Electric Vehicle Company division, and will support the US concern with knowledge gained from the electric vehicle technical center that BAIC owns in Silicon Valley.

We first heard about Atieva in February 2015 when Charged happened upon the company in the career development area of the SAE World Congress in Detroit. Founded by a former Tesla VP and an Oracle board member in 2007, its original purpose was battery monitoring and control software and it holds at least 100 patents in those areas. At some point it decided it wanted to build a new EV, and had supposedly secured "significantly more" than $131 million by early this year. The BAIC investment comes on top of that amount.

Atieva's employee rolls already include many ex-Tesla workers, and its job listing site is looking for more experts in almost every aspect of automaking to come to Menlo Park, CA and assist. The first production car being designed from scratch will have a lithium-ion battery in excess of 20kWh and is expected to have a range of more than 300 miles. BAIC's long-term goal is to have Atieva develop an entire EV model lineup for sale internationally. We'll see the first concept at the 2016 Beijing Motor Show.

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