• A worker checks an electric car in an EV manufacturing plant in Beijing.

A worker checks an electric car in an EV manufacturing plant in Beijing. (Photo : Reuters)

Qiantu Motor, an auto design firm set up by Beijing CH-Auto Technology Co., is set to produce its own electric roadster from materials used in business jets and yachts, posing a challenge to other electric vehicles firms such as Tesla Motors Inc. in the EV market.

Qiantu Motor chairman Lu Qu was quoted in a Bloomberg report as saying that the company is now building a factory in Suzhou to manufacture an electric car that has a carbon-fiber body and an aluminum frame.

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Lu said that the sports car they are producing, called K50, will be launched next year with an initial price of about 700,000 yuan ($106,000). Its price is comparable to Tesla's Model S and about a third of the BMW i8.

"We are learning from Tesla as well as all the other electric carmakers," said Lu, a former Jeep engineer who started Beijing CH-Auto with colleagues after they left Beijing Jeep Corp. in 2003. "We are aiming at building high-performance cars, and there's no other option but to build our own factory, because there isn't a plant in China that has a carbon-fiber molding workshop."

In the first quarter last year, around 3,025 Model S and Model X cars in China were sold by Tesla, as Palo Alto, an electric carmaker based in California, is aiming for a bigger role in China's vehicle market.

Steve Man, a Hong Kong-based analyst for the auto industry at Bloomberg Intelligence, said that marketing and reputation will play a major role in Qiantu's success.

"It will take a lot of patience and capital to build a consumer standing that is time-tested," Man said. "Let see if it has staying power."

The EV makers in China are overcrowded with carmakers and their new models as the government plans to expand the market for e-vehicles 10-fold from last year to around 3 million units by 2025.

Electric vehicle buyers are encouraged by government to buy locally made cars, and in some cities the government subsidy reaches about 100,000 yuan.

Tesla currently doesn't manufacture in China, though founder Elon Musk said earlier this year that the company was looking for a partner to do so.

There are several competitors in China's EV market which include Chehejia, which also plans to introduce electric vehicles as well as an SUV by the end of 2017.

Tencent Holdings Ltd. and electronics maker Foxconn Technology Group are also supporting a new vehicle maker called Future Mobility.

NextEV Inc. has also produced an electric Formula E series racer, while billionaire Jia Yueting of Le Holdings Co. had presented in April its concept four-door electric sports car named LeSEE.