LeEco LeSee Tesla rival to star in Transformers film

LeEco is a Chinese tech firm working with Aston Martin on new electric and autonomous cars

The LeEco LeSee (Super Electric Ecosystem) is a Chinese Tesla rival, and while it's only a concept for now the car is already set to appear in an upcoming Transformers film. The action film franchise, directed by Michael Bay, is hugely popular in China.

The concept car itself has already been revealed at the Beijing Motor Show, and features fully autonomous driving, plus an all-electric powertrain. It features futuristic tech such as an external screen to display when it's driving itself, magnetic charging and even a fold-away steering wheel.

While technology like this is a way off for road cars, the firm is readying its first model, set to be built at a $1.8billion electric vehicle factory in China.

LeEco working with Aston Martin

Aston Martin has confirmed that it’s working with Chinese media giant LeEco on a range of projects from a new HMI system for its own cars to helping productionise the Chinese company’s own electric cars.

LeEco is one of the major investors behind the Faraday Future company in the US, which showed its FFZERO1 concept at Beijing. But the Chinese company also stunned the Beijing crowds with its own electric car plans, highlighted by the LeSee autonomous electric car concept.

Speaking exclusively to Auto Express at the Beijing Motor Show, Aston President and CEO Andy Palmer told us, “Rather than going and knocking on Google or Apple’s door like everyone else is, we’ve decided to go and knock on LeEco’s door to ask them to do an HMI system for us that would be absolutely right for our Chinese customers. They’ve created a Rapide with a system on board, which is on their stand.

Beijing Motor Show 2016: news

“The next part of the collaboration is how can we build an electric car together – how can they help us with some of the componentry from the Faraday Future car. And that’s where we are today with an acknowledgement that if they want to bring some of the cars they’re showing to market, they might need some help from an established car company.”

According to Palmer, LeEco has 40 million customers in China and he’ll be using the newly set up Aston Martin Consulting as the bridge between the two companies. “They want to enter the EV space, they own Faraday Future and their version of Faraday Future in China is LeSee. We’ll be working with them with Aston Martin consulting – you can join the dots up,” Palmer told us.

As well as the Rapide featuring on the LeSee stand, Palmer revealed that LeEco was a partial investor in Aston’s Rapide EV project

He also said that there was a possibility that LeEco’s HMI infotainment system could be rolled out in Aston Martins across the world, in line with LeEco’s aims to become a global player. “We have the possibility of the Chinese HMI system to become a global system – it could be read back as a global system,” Palmer told us. 

However, he was clear that any company using the Aston Martin Consulting business did not have the right to use Aston Martin badge on their products.  “The only thing we would allow them to do within their marketing material is to refer to ‘consultancy by Aston Martin’ – if they wanted to use our wings on the back of their car, the answer is a fully comprehensive ‘no way’,” Palmer told us.

What do you think of the closer relationship between Aston Martin and LeEco? Will it be good for both brands? Let us know in the comments…

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