If you know LeEco at all, it’s likely for the Chinese company’s smartphones. Or, maybe you’ve caught wind of its video streaming services or smart televisions — it was known as LeTV until fairly recently, after all.
Those elements were present in a massive Beijing press conference held earlier today (including a trio of new smartphones that have done away with the headphone jack, in favor of USB-C), but the true highlight came when a visibly emotional CEO Jia Yueting unveiled the LeSEE concept car.
Following a fittingly dramatic promo video loaded with gratuitous shots of the concept car’s curves, Yueting hailed it on his phone using voice recognition, a nod to the company’s plan to market the LeSEE as a sort of futuristic, autonomous taxi.
Company co-founder Ding Lei offered the public its first peek as he drove it out on stage at a speed only appropriate in school zones and press conferences. Choking back and later apologizing for his tears, Yueting then ordered the car to go back and park itself.
The car-gawking public will get a closer look at the LeSEE (pronounced, fittingly, similarly to “lessee”) at the upcoming Beijing Auto Show — though the company did offer up some interesting tidbits about the autonomous concept vehicle, including a top speed of 130 MPH, an exterior display on the front of the car and a foldaway steering wheel.
There also looks to be a fairly impressive on-board entertainment system, featuring back-of-seat displays and isolated music playback, so passengers can listen to different things at the same time.
All of this comes as stories roll in about that other consumer electronics maker that has apparently been steadily toiling away on an electric car of its own for some time. It shouldn’t be a complete shock that LeEco got there first, however. The company has, after all, already dipped multiple toes in the water, both through its backing of Faraday Future’s buzzworthy concept and a joint venture with Aston Martin announced back in February.