The Youxia X is just as sleek looking as the Model S. (via Youxia & CNC)
Open source your design/patents… this happens. It’s not the first time, but the most ambitious I’ve seen recently. (See the MakerBot close, TangiBot, for another example towards the end of the post.)
In case you didn't know China has a reputation for producing knockoffs of designer brands, like Gucci and Burberry. You may have seen some of these knockoff purses, but how about a knockoff car? Recently, China revealed the Youxia X electric car made to compete with the Tesla Model S vehicle. If you're thinking it looks familiar, you're right. It appears the Youxia, which is the Chinese name for the Knight Rider series, has copied most of the design for the Tesla car. It's not an exact replica, but many of the same features have been reproduced like the central touchscreen that controls almost all of the analog controls, the body shape, fender badges, and black grill. CEO Haung Xiuyuan is the one behind the car and yes, he is a Knight Rider fan.
Though it may be a clone, the Youxia X does have at least one feature not found on the Telsa: a programmable display grill, which can show emojis and even the iconic sliding ride light from KITT. The operating system is based on Android 5.1 and is called KITT OS ( can you guess why?). This OS allows drivers to select various engine sounds from cars like Ferrari 488 GTB and Jaguar F-Type to replace the near-silence of the electric motor.
When it comes to performance, Tesla is still on top with 315 horsepower and reaching 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. The Youxia can put out 348 hp, which is enough for 0 to 60 in 5.6 seconds. When it comes to range both cars are pretty similar with the X having 40, 65, and 85 kilowatt hour battery packs. The Model S offers 70, 85, an 90 kilowatt packs. The Youxia is supposed to reach a max range of 285 miles, while the Model S can go 270 miles on a charge.
Those who can't afford the $70,000 price tag of Model S will be happy to know the clone will start at an estimated $32,000 with range-topping models going for $48,000. The catch is the car isn't coming to the US marketplace anytime soon. Production is supposed to begin in late 2016 with deliveries slated for 2017. I have to say… the price is appealing.
It's easy to point out why clones that rely on open source hardware should be avoided. Many consumers worry about cheaper parts and the product not being made well overall, but open source hardware has the advantage of making money for those who use it. Just look at TangiBot, which is a clone of MakerBot 3D printers. Not only does it offer the same performance as the MakerBot, but every component on the Tangibot is compatible the original printer and is cheaper with a price tag of $1,199 compared with $1,749 for the MakerBot. The printer did exceptionally well, so the Youxia X may find the same success. We'll have to wait to find out.
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