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China Electric Car Startup Seeks $1 Billion in Tesla Challenge

  • NextEV Adds Sequoia Capital, Joy Capital as investors
  • Company plans to team up with two carmakers by the end of year

A Chinese electric-car startup with ambitions to challenge Tesla Motors Inc. has raised about half of the $1 billion it’s seeking, roping in investors including Sequoia Capital and Joy Capital as part of plans to develop affordable, connected green cars.

NextEV Inc., set up last year by founder William Li and a group of Internet entrepreneurs, is backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Hillhouse Capital. The carmaker is targeting to roll out a supercar model in 2016 that can match the “Ludicrous” speed mode for Tesla’s Model S and plans to outsource production to traditional auto manufacturers, Li said in a phone interview.