In late July, Huang Xiuyuan, the 28-year-old CEO of Chinese startup carmaker Youxia Motors, unveiled the design for a high-performance electric sedan. Called Ranger X, the car is attractive, nicely proportioned, sporty looking. It will be instantly familiar to anyone who has seen a Tesla Model S – but we’re no longer surprised by Chinese carmakers paying legally questionable homage to successful Western models.

The car is weird, but its story is weirder.

First, its most useless innovation: The Ranger X has a holographic display in place of a front grille. Yes, a holographic display. It can show Youxia’s name and ‘Y’ emblem (which looks suspiciously like Tesla’s ‘T’ emblem), or a snippet of driver-inputted text, or emoji, or that red Pong display from the front of Knight Rider’s KITT.

Second, the car’s Google Android-based systems and infotainment operating system is actually called “KITT,” after the Pontiac Trans Am co-star of the awful ‘80s television series (which we watched every episode of, even the ones with Michael Knight’s evil twin Garth). The driver interacts with that system through a vertically oriented 17in touchscreen display, much like the driver of a Model S would interact with that car’s vertically oriented 17in display. Small world. From here, the Ranger X driver can choose which throaty sports car growl (from a list that includes mostly Jaguars and Ferraris) should be artificially piped into the cabin.

Third, the very name “Youxia” roughly translates as “traveling knight,” furthering the Hasselhoffian connections. Huang Xiuyuan openly admits to being a Knight Rider fan, and claims the idea for the car came to him in a dream.

And fourth… well, according to, there might not even be a Youxia Ranger X. The Shanghai-based company had promised to unveil an electric sports car called the Youxia One at the July event, which was to be built on a Hyundai Genesis chassis, but the One (and the investor money behind it) didn’t show. That investor money instead went to buy a Tesla Model S, which was then reverse-engineered (with no little help from Tesla’s open patents) to create the Ranger X.

Or maybe it wasn’t. CarNewsChina did a little comparison and came away convinced that everything more than fender-deep on the X is actually an S, based on the wheelbase, the door pillars, and the interior that no one was actually allowed to see. The previously mentioned investors are reportedly unhappy.

They might be buoyed by the specs of the Ranger X, however, if Youxia Motors can make it happen. The car promises a 285-mile range on a charge, zero-to-60mph in under six seconds with 348 horsepower, half-hour charging, and – most shockingly – a price tag that starts at about 200,000 yuan – just over $30,000.

That last bit, actually, may be the hardest thing to believe about the Ranger X.

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