EV Makers in China Turn to New Tech to Beat Tesla

Chinese electric vehicle makers are stepping up their competition against industry giant Tesla by packing their cars with a range of new features. Tesla has been the top electric vehicle company in China and the global market for over a decade, but the Texas-based automaker has faced a lot of pressure from Chinese companies in recent years.

With competition in the electric vehicle sector ramping up even further, EV makers in China are adopting new technologies to make their cars stand out from the pack and attract consumers from other companies. Li Yi, CEO and chair of laser display company Appotronics, a Shenzhen-based company that claims to work with top carmakers, says electric vehicles are increasingly becoming consumer electronics. According to Yi, demand for these new vehicle technologies could help his company’s auto segment generate anywhere from $40 to $100 million per year.

While Tesla only offers limited driver-assist features and few additional accessories, carmakers in China are filling their vehicles with a wide range of tech-based accessories. Appotronics CEO Li Yi says Chinese customers are more interested in EVs with the “most advanced tech specs,” while European consumers are more concerned with functionality.

The Aito M9 SUV features collapsible front sets, a refrigerator, a 32-inch foldable screen and a projector that provides information and overlays it over the road ahead. The cost: $66,320 to $80,430. Li Auto’s L9 SUV also comes with a refrigerator, driver-assist capabilities and AR HUD at $60,553.

New Chinese EVs are now equipped with novel features such as driver assist, in-car projectors and even refrigerators. A lot of these new cars feature technology that Tesla and other top EV makers still don’t offer, and at lower price points.  This makes Chinese EVs increasingly competitive in both the Chinese and global markets, especially with high inflation and rising living costs forcing many consumers to be extra careful with their purchases. Electric cars from China tend to be cheaper compared to units made by Western companies, thanks to massive subsidies from China’s government.

These subsidies significantly reduce the high cost of EV production, allowing Chinese electric vehicle companies to pass the savings to their consumers. Tesla finally lost its status as the top-selling electric vehicle brand in the last quarter of 2023 after BYD surpassed it in sales. CEO Elon Musk has acknowledged that Chinese EV companies will be the West’s biggest competitors as the electric vehicle industry matures.

It is now incumbent upon other EV makers such as Rivian Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ: RIVN) to catch up to these new auto technologies in order to retain their market share.

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