It may not be anything more emblematic of the American century than the car. Mounting lines rolled out millions of Ford's, Chryslers, Chevys and Buicks and made Motor City-Detroit, the Michigan capital of the global automotive industry. But in the course of dominating the automotive industry in the 21st century, China is fighting for the pole position. Chinese car manufacturers are building tomorrow's smart cars. And the energy consumption is electric.
Today, American automakers are caught between a tariff-fueled trade war and threats to the cuts of electric car subsidies by the Trump administration. At the same time, Beijing is trying to win the race by making sure that the future electric vehicle is made in China.
Michael Dunne: This year China will build a million electric vehicles. It's fine scale. It is half the electric vehicles in the world.
Michael Dunne grew up in Detroit, Motor Motor City, studying as a fairytale student in the late 1
Michael Dunne: Everyone was poor, wearing grays and blues, cycled on bikes. There were no cars.
Holly Williams: No Cars?
Michael Dunne: No cars at all.
Nomi is an avatar of artificial intelligence. She will entertain you with a music playlist, adjust the temperature or snap a confidence on command. This is Chinese innovation – a big leap forward from China's Communist past.
Holly Williams: What would Chairman Mao have made of a capitalist like you (LAUGHTER)?
Li told us that Chairman Mao would have said, "You do a good job."  Holly Williams: Really? He was a communist. He hated capitalists like you!
"We are trying to create a better world," Li said.
In Chinese, the slogan of Lis's car company is "blue sky coming". There is a good reason for one of the reasons why the Chinese government is pushing electric vehicles, as a way to reduce the country's suffocating air pollution.
Holly Williams: You've been called Elon Musk in China. Is it fair?
William Li: I am (LAUGHTER) younger than he.
Holly Williams: I've been talking to quite a few Chinese people since I came here. And they say they really like Teslas.
William Li: "Yes."
Holly Williams: How are you competing with it?
Li said it is like the clothes fashion models have on the catwalk.
William Li: "It's not the same."
"The clothes can be beautiful," he explained, "but you can't use them every day."
Holly Williams: So Tesla is the supermodel and you're the girl next door?
William Li: Yes.
Auto analyst Michael Dunne's first challenge for Nio is to overcome China's reputation for building low-quality cheap cars.
Holly Williams: Are they trying to knock Tesla out of China and – and maybe Tesla globally?
Michael Dunne: There's plenty of market here to allow Tesla to play and Nio to play. What Nio needs to do is establish credibility with consumers and say, "We are legitimate. We are – a very good car."
In September, Nio became the first Chinese all-electric car company to debut on the New York Stock Exchange. The splashy original public offer increased one billion dollars.
Holly Williams: This is the racing car?
A Nine team has competed on the Formula E circuit for two seasons, including this race in Brooklyn, New York. Evidence that electric cars encounter gas engines in power and speed.
But Nios is really designed for tech-savvy Chinese owners who connect to their cars with a mobile app. Touch a screen for repairs or maintenance. Press to order a mobile charging station for a fast power boost.
Press again to visit a switching station, where a depleted battery can be replaced in three minutes by robots.
It is the kind of futuristic scene that William Li could only dream of as a child.
Holly Williams: And did anyone in your village have a car?
William Li: No.
Ironically, the founder of this high-tech electric car company grew up in a farm with no electricity. 19659002] Holly Williams: So you learned about the business and claim cows with your grandfather.
William Li: Yes– yes– yes.
Holly Williams: And what did you learn?
Li explained that when doing business, "honesty is very important."