Atieva, the California-based EV maker backed by the Beijing Electric Vehicle Company, is best known for their bonkers test-mule van named Edna that’s spanked a BMW i8 and Dodge Viper. They’re planning a Tesla Model S-fighter named the Atvus, and now we know what it’ll look like.


In case you haven’t seen Atieva’s test mule van in action, here it is:

Impressive, right? That van hit 60 in 2.74 seconds, and Atieva claims it has a range that’s very close to a Tesla Model S. Of course, it’s a big white box, and to compete with the Model S, the Atieva Atvus needs to look good.

The website Recode filed for a public records request on Atieva, and what they found was a Manufacture Application Checklist that included a profile image of the new car. Here it is again:

It’s not clear if this is a final production design or, if not, how closely this will look compared to the final production model, but we can get a very good general sense of the design from this.


Based on previous concept drawings like this one

…we can see that the most interesting design element of the car, the low character line that arcs up to the rear, through the rear wheel where it forms a sort of partial wheel-skirt, is retained here. That’s likely to become the Atvus’ defining stylistic trait.



Recode suggests that the car looks like a Tesla Model S; I beg to differ. While they’re both roughly the same in proportion and both have a roughly fastback-style sloping rear, there’s a lot of differences.

The Atvus has a much more prominent and thick C-pillar, and the line of the windows is the opposite of the Tesla, terminating in a downward slope instead of up. Also, the fundamental design vocabulary is different, with the Tesla being more fluid and smoothed, and the Atvus relying more on creases and sharp lines and the cutlines of the car’s body panels.


From this one grainy picture, I rather like the Atieva Atvus. Too bad its name sounds like something Harry Potter would shout before shooting a beam of glowing gel out of his wand.

Atieva claims that the Atvus will launch in December, and be on sale in the U.S. by 2018. I have no idea how likely this is to happen, especially since they’re relying on a factory in rural China that’s so far only made electric scooters and a nifty little electric microcar called the Chok.

I’m excited to see what the Atvus actually turns out to look like. Perhaps if it’s successful, maybe they could redesign the Chok, too. That little face just looks a bit too much like a crazed pug that wants to bite my nuts off.