China’s biggest search engine creates electric car maker with Geely


Why would search engine giant Baidu embark on an electric car project?

Regardless of the answer, Baidu’s choice of parent company Volvo Geely as its automotive company’s nuts and bolts partner – while Baidu will develop the software – instantly gives the project the potential to expand beyond China, given Geely’s connections across continents.

The two companies announced on Monday morning the establishment of a new strategic partnership – in fact, in their words, “a new electric car maker”, confirming that the new company will use the sustainable experience architecture platform. (SEA) of Geely which will underpin the future Vehicles.

Based on Geely’s description of the platform, provided last September when it featured in the Zero Concept, that might be fine.

Modular EV platform Geely SEA (Sustainable Experience Architecture)

Geely said it plans to supply the platform to other automakers, and also described it as “open source,” with the hardware flexibilities for single, two and three-engine configurations, as well as range extenders. Baidu will bring smart driving capabilities, including its Apollo autonomous driving and Baidu Maps.

The project seems to be moving quickly within Geely, as last month he already took this vehicle to the prototype stage, calling it Zero EV, with a range of 435 miles and an 800-volt battery which he says will not have power. degradation during the first 10% of its 1.24 million mile life.

2022 Lynk & Co. Prototype Zero EV

2022 Lynk & Co. Prototype Zero EV

The Baidu project was first reported by Reuters last month, citing internal sources, and at that time it was said that the company was looking for contract manufacturing partners. A separate Reuters Last week’s report spurred the first reports of this partnership.

Baidu is not completely new to cars and mobility. It has an autonomous taxi service called Apollo Go that operates in several cities, as a test bed for its Apollo autonomous driving platform. And it’s not the only Chinese tech company to dabble in electric and autonomous vehicles. E-commerce giant Alibaba, for example, was an early investor in Xpeng, and Alibaba has a partnership with China’s SAIC.

With the news of this potential partnership broken on the same day as a potential one between Hyundai and Apple, it just shows that there may be a lot more series from major tech and auto makers teaming up.

NOTE: This article is an update of an article originally published on January 8, 2020, modified to reflect the official announcement of the partnership.

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