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Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard resurfaces to bring a Chinese EV company to the US


We haven’t really heard much about Tesla’s original co-founder, Martin Eberhard, after the very public ‘founders disagreement’ with Elon Musk following his ousting from his role as CEO of the company back in 2008. He briefly led Volkswagen’s electric vehicle development in the US and later joined his former Tesla colleagues at competitor Atieva before leaving last year.

Now he resurfaces as a consultant for a Chinese electric vehicle company trying to enter the US market.

In a press release today, Chongqing Sokon Industry Group, a Chinese manufacturer of motorcycles and vans, announced that they hired Eberhard as a consultant. Sokon claims to have signed a two-year contract with the Tesla co-founder on September 22, 2016.

They created a US-based subsidiary called ‘SF Motors’ and Eberhard’s job will be to oversee “the integration of the world’s top talent for new energy vehicles, to promote the company’s product positioning, R&D, design, technical innovation, talent pool, marketing, in the United States.”

Sokon currently manufactures primarily commercial vehicles and minivans, as well as electric scooters and gas-powered motorcycles.

While the press release makes it clear that the company is looking to enter the US market with electric vehicles and to bring some development stateside, it’s not clear if it would be the same vehicles or passenger cars.

The company would be joining several other China-based automakers and tech companies investing in the US for the development of electric vehicles, like LeEco, BAIC and NextEV.

Last year, we reported that Eberhard invested, along with Tesla co-founder Marc Tarpenning, in the electric motorcycle startup Alta Motors: Electric motorcycle startup backed by Tesla founders delivers its first bike to customers: the Redshift [Gallery]

Featured Image:  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elon Musk and Martin Eberhard

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