Chinese technology company Baidu will launch its first electric model at the end of the year together with carmaker Geely under the new Ji Yue brand.
The Ji Yue 01, however, is Jidu Auto’s electric SUV, previously known as the Robo-01. Jidu Auto was the name of the electric car joint venture between Baidu and Geely until now.
According to an official statement, Geely and Baidu have established the new Ji Yue brand, which will begin production and deliveries of its first model in the fourth quarter of 2023.
The Ji Yue 01 will be built by Geely and use the Geely SEA platform. Ji Yue also plans to build its own charging network in China.
According to Chinese CN EV News, the Ji Yue 01 has already been added to the catalogue for registration in China, and the photos show that it indeed is Jidu Auto’s electric SUV, previously known as the Robo-01.
There is no official explanation as to why Geely and Baidu appear to be dropping the Jidu Auto name.
However, the above-mentioned portal writes that the JV “hasn’t made any big moves in the past six months, including missing the Shanghai auto show, raising questions about what’s going on with the Baidu car-making arm.”
The vehicle approach has stayed the same: the flagship 01 is expected to lead the way in smart car development. The electric drive in the form of Geely’s SEA hardware platform is thus only the basis for the autonomous driving functions and connectivity software that Baidu intends to contribute.
The last news from the previous joint venture Jidu Auto dates back to February.
At the time, it was said that the Robo-01 had been undergoing winter testing in four cities in northern China since December 2022.
The Jidu brand officially launched in March 2021, and less than a year later, Baidu and Geely announced plans to invest around 400 million dollars in their electric car joint venture.
In October 2022, Jidu launched a limited edition of the Robo-01, the so-called Lunar Edition, which started at 399,800 yuan (around 54,888 dollars).
Then, at the end of December 2022, the brand introduced its second model, the Robo-02, at the Guangzhou Auto Show.
Interestingly, according to CN EV News, Jidu was 55 per cent owned by Baidu and 45 per cent by Geely when it was founded. However, the new Ji Yue brand is said to be majority-owned by Geely.
Specifically, the Jiyue brand’s operating company – the recently established Hangzhou Jiyuyue Automotive Technology Co Ltd – is said to be 65 per cent owned by Geely and 35 per cent by a Baidu subsidiary.