San Jose Welcomes Auto Innovator NextEV

Adding to San Jose’s growing presence in the electric and autonomous car manufacturing market, startup NextEV celebrated its grand opening on North First Street in North San Jose, with San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and hundreds of partners, investors and media.


The two-year old company was founded by Chinese entrepreneur William Li, and plans to build a series of electric and autonomous cars for the Chinese market first and then enter global markets. NextEV’s arrival in the city was first revealed about a year ago.


It’s the latest arrival to the region’s booming automobile sector. Essentially every established automaker has an R&D outpost in Silicon Valley to take advantage of the region’s engineering talent as the industry evolves toward a more computerized – and electric — future. Now newcomers are staking claims as well. In addition to Palo Alto-based Tesla, other auto arrivals include Atieva (in Menlo Park and Fremont) and LeEco (also in North San Jose).


NextEV occupies an 85,000 square foot building at 3200 North First Street that will house 400 workers. The company (  is one of 18 manufacturers approved to test autonomous vehicles on California roads.


Earlier this year, NextEV received a $10 million tax credit through the California Competes Tax Credit program to create nearly 1,000 jobs and more than $130M in economic investment in California. The company’s mission aligns with the governor’s 2016 Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Action Plan. The plan is to deploy 1.5 million ZEVs by 2025 with the goal of reducing California’s petroleum use by up to 50 percent by 2030.


Cisco’s former CTO, Padmasree Warrior, will lead the US division of the company, which was founded in part because of Li’s concern for the air his children had to breathe in their hometown of Beijing.


San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, right, applauds the virtual ribbon-cutting at the opening of NextEV in North San Jose.

“Congratulations to NextEV on this new facility that will leverage the creativity and talent of Silicon Valley as they seek to revolutionize the future of driving,” said Mayor of San Jose, Sam Liccardo. “Thank you for your significant investment in San Jose and we look forward to supporting your continued growth in the years to come.”


Although no cars were demonstrated at the event, a Chinese website just published some photos of NextEV’s “supercar.”