We’ve covered bizarre Chinese knockoffs of well-known cars before, but this may be the first time a Chinese company has been inspired by an ‘80s American TV show about a pedantic car to make a knockoff possibly even better than the original. Good people, I give you the Youxia X, a Tesla Model S with a big dose of vitamin KITT.
Here’s the first key thing you need to know about the Youxia X: the name Youxia (霹雳游侠) is, according to our pals at CarNewsChina, what the show Knight Rider was called in China. The 28-year-old founder of Youxia is a Knight Rider fan and seemingly very productive guy named Huang Xiuyuan.
The Youxia X is pretty clearly based on the Tesla Model S, though it feels like the styling started with a Model S and then sort of pushed everything just a little further, a little more exuberantly futuristic. I actually think it takes the basic Tesla design language to a pretty interesting and attractive place — a little more angular, a little harsher, a bit less restrained.
And, any idea that restraint was even a concern for the Youxia’s designers can pretty much be thrown out the window when you realize that behind the big, smooth black panel that sits where a conventional car’s radiator grille would be (and where the Model S has a similar-looking expanse of glossy blackness) the Youxia KITT-lovers have hidden what seems to be an LCD screen, capable of simulating KITT’s trademark oscillating red LED panel. Here, look:
It can also display the car’s badge or pretty much any other still or animated design you’d like. I know some people will think this is cheesy, but I actually love this idea. I even once brought up this basic concept to Ian Callum to see if he’d consider adding an animated Jaguar ‘growler’ badge. I’m just happy to see someone’s giving this idea a try.
Inside, we see more Tesla inspiration, with that massive, portrait-oriented LCD screen that’s running the car’s OS — an Android derivative that’s named, you guessed it, KITT. This dude freaking loves him some Knight Rider.
Like the Model S, the Youxia X is an electric car. The car seems to be rear-drive, like a Model S, with a motor that has a peak power of 270KW, or about 362 HP. It’ll go 0-60 KPH (37 MPH) in 2.8 seconds, and 0-100 KPH (60 MPH) in 5.6 seconds. Not too shabby, though not quite up to Tesla’s numbers.
There’s three battery packs available: in 40, 60 or 85 kWh. The claimed ranges for these are 136, 205, and 285 miles respectively. That’s not bad at all, if true, and all of this sounds even better when you realize they want to charge $32,000 to $48,000 for the car, but that does include (disclude?) a $14,000 subsidy from the Chinese government.
There are, of course, many unknowns. What’s the build quality like? Will this thing actually be built next year, like they claim? Is it using a ‘skateboard’-style chassis with integral batteries and motors mounted at the rear axle like Tesla? Does it have a frunk? Did they kidnap William Daniels and make him record all the vocal responses the car makes?
We don’t know just yet. I would love to find out, so, Youxia, if you’re doing a press launch for this, if you invite me, I’ll do what I can to grow my hair out into a thick, luxuriant mane, wear a red turtleneck under a leather jacket with the sleeves pushed up, and talk into my watch.
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