Critics (ourselves included) may be quick to point out that the Youxia X, a new electric car that just debuted in China with a projected on-sale date of early 2017, looks quite a bit like the Tesla Model S. We'd wager that's completely intentional, and, in fact, the company openly admits to buying a Tesla and taking it apart to figure out how it all works.
What's more, Youxia is very clear to point out that it is relying on a number of patents and technologies that Tesla has made open source and therefore available for other companies and individuals to use, for free. Just how much Tesla Model S sits under the Youxia X that was put on display in China is unknown.
That said, if you're going to take a current car design as inspiration, perhaps that's not a bad place to start, and there's more to the Youxia X story than its Tesla-esque design. Click on the image above to learn more about this new electric car.
Youxia X front view
Besides its undeniable links to the Tesla Model S, there's one more theme with which Youxia relies on to make its electric sedan stand out: Knight Rider.
At the front, that open black grille is actually a screen that can display all sorts of moving images, chief of which is a set of red lights that mimic those of KITT from the popular television series from the 1980s.
The car runs on a unique operating system that the company calls KITT OS, and Yoixia promises you'll be able to talk to the car in common language and it will understand your commands.
The name Youxia, interestingly enough, is said to be derived from the localized name of Knight Rider in China.
Youxia X in profile
Looking deeper at the car's design, the basic shape of the Youxia X is sleek, with a drawn-out greenhouse and deeply sculpted body sides. Up front is a black expanse where you'd normally expect to find a grille. Like the Tesla Model S, the Youxia is electric and therefore doesn't need a large air opening at the front to cool a radiator.
According to Youxia's website, the X will be powered by an electric motor that puts out 362 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. The base battery promises 137 miles of range from 40 kWh of energy storage. As is the case with the Tesla Model S, there will be optional batteries with greater capacity, allowing up to 286 miles of range from an 85 kWh unit.
Youxia X rear view
From the rear, the Youxia X looks very interesting. There are deep cut-outs for the taillights that remind us of some recent Lexus models, but the overall effect is pretty unique and modern.
If and when it goes on sale, Youxia projects a starting price of $47,000 that can be reduced in China by $15,000 on account of government-sponsored incentives for driving electric cars. Naturally, larger optional battery packs will cost more.
Youxia X interior
From the inside, it's clear that Youxia has again drawn lots of inspiration from Tesla. Starting with the massive touchscreen panel in the center console that controls nearly all vehicle functions, we're sure the crew from America's electric car manufacturer see plenty that looks familiar.
So far, the only shots of the Youxia X's interior are renderings. No actual photos of the inside of the car were allowed when the car was debuted, so we'll have to wait and see how closely the production model can come to matching the look of these computer-aided images.
There's one more image in this slideshow. Click above to see the Tesla Model S in all its glory, so you can draw your own conclusions as to how close the Youxia X comes to matching its most obvious potential competitor.
Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S is, for now, the best production electric car money can buy. It's efficient, fast, safe, and even rather affordable considering all the technology that it offers.
Will Youxia provide real competition for Tesla? Only time will tell. One thing's for sure, though: Tesla won't be standing still, and by 2017, the Model S won't be the only vehicle offered by the Silicon Valley automaker.