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The Chinese knock-off that wants to be a Tesla

Californian manufacturer Tesla can now bask in the ultimate form of flattery as a Chinese manufacturer has borrowed heavily from one of its cars for a new vehicle.

The Youxia Ranger X is said to be a direct competitor for the forthcoming Tesla Model 3 and has a number of styling cues that look very eerily similar to the current Model S, including the front end, profile and headlights.

Even the T-shaped badge is similar, as is what can be found under the hood. Like the Tesla, the Youxia Ranger X saloon has an electric powertrain that generates 352bhp and 440Nm of torque, allowing it to go from 0-62mph in 5.6 seconds.

The range, meanwhile, is 285 miles if you opt for the 80kWh option. A 60kWh and 40kWh will also be available, offering 205 miles and 136 miles of motoring on a single charge, respectively.

Youxia says the electric powertrain uses technology seen on the BMW i3 and Model S, while its handling prowess was developed by “the world’s leading engineering companies”. It is unclear what companies it is referring to.

Similarities with the Model S continue in the form of adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance – both part of Tesla’s Autopilot system – and a 17.3-inch centrally-located and vertically aligned touchscreen inside the car.

There are, however, a number of differences that separate the Chinese wannabe from the Tesla, including a front LCD panel in the bumper that recreates the oscillating lighting effect seen on Kitt, the famous car from the 80s show Knight Rider.

It also uses sound symposers to make the noise of an engine, allowing you to choose between the note of a Ferrari 488GTB and even a Jaguar F-Type, as opposed to the supercharger-esque whine of most electric cars.

28-year-old Youxia owner Huang Xiuyuan was said to be a fan Knight Rider, which starred David Hasselhoff, so it’s no coincidence the company name is the same as the title for the show in China.

Even the Android and iOS compatible infotainment system is called Kitt. Reports say the idea for the car came to Xiuyuan in a dream.

Given the Tesla Model S in its basic spec has 324bhp and can hit 0-60mph in 5.2 seconds, the Youxia Ranger X’s price tag from US$32,000 (around £20,000) seems good value. There is, of course, no word on whether it’s as reliable.

Production is scheduled to begin in 2016, with deliveries starting in early 2017 assuming there are no hiccups along the way. A hiccup like Tesla deciding the similarity is perhaps a bit too uncanny.

Other car manufacturers have seen their share of copying, including Jaguar Land Rover and its Evoque, which was virtually copied by the LandWind X7 4×4.

Youxia Ranger X pictures


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