As well as providing key funding, BAIC will also provide Atieva with electric vehicle expertise through its new electric vehicle technical centre, which was opened in Silicon Valley in October.
The Chinese car maker already sells a number of electric cars in the domestic Chinese market, including the BAIC E150 EV. But while the compact five-door hatchback relies on conventional 23.4kWh lithium ion battery technology and boasts a claimed range of just 87 miles under the Chinese combined cycle test, the new electric car being developed with Atieva is rumoured to use a much larger battery with more contemporary cell technology that will provide it with a theoretical range of more than 300 miles.
Further details on the new joint-venture electric car remain scarce, although a basic sketch which featured on Atieva’s official website suggests it may have a sporting design similar in certain respects to the Tesla Model S.
A mission statement on the Atieva website said: “We’re redefining what a car can be by building an iconic new vehicle from the ground up. We’re a car company, not a design house. And we’re definitely not a traditional automaker."
Atieva was founded in 2007 by former Tesla vice president Bernard Tse and Astoria Networks founder Sam Weng. Its original operations centred around software for the monitoring of individual battery cells as well as controls for battery packs used in plug-in hybrid drivelines.
Other companies involved in the development of the new Atieva electric car include German-based industrial giant Siemens, Korean battery cell manufacturer SK Group and Italian vehicle design and production specialist CECOMP.
Atieva is one of several start-up companies developing electric cars with financial backing from Chinese investors.
Los Angeles-based Faraday Future has already indicated that it will reveal a Tesla Model S rival at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in early January.
NextEV, headquartered in Shanghai but with a network of global research facilities, also recently revealed it is working on a road-going electric car.