ZERON Secures $19 million in Pre-A Round Financing

The new energy intelligent heavy truck company ZERON has announced the completion of a $19 million(about ¥140 million) Pre-A round of financing.

This round of financing was jointly led by Skyview Fund and Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group, with follow-on investment from XinYi Capital. Hina Group served as the financial advisor.

It is reported that the funds will be mainly used for continuous investment and development in the mass production of the company’s first batch of vehicle models, research on core subsystems, autonomous driving algorithm research, talent recruitment, etc.

ZERON was founded in June 2022, jointly initiated by Huang Zehua, former co-founder of TuSimple, a self-driving truck company, and Zhang Hongsong, former general manager of Sany Heavy Truck and vice president of BAIC Foton Daimler. Currently, ZERON has more than 100 research and development personnel, with over 43% holding a master’s degree or above. According to ZERON, the company has completed three rounds of financing within its first year.

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Currently, the new energy revolution is expanding from passenger vehicles to the commercial vehicle sector. Industry players include Sany Heavy Truck from the traditional truck field, Geely’s long-range new energy subsidiary, as well as truck manufacturing newcomers like DeepWay and Newrizon Motors.

And ZERON will also join this competition. Its goal is to develop a new energy intelligent heavy-duty truck with advanced autonomous driving capabilities based on forward design, creating a competitive barrier of ‘software + hardware + data’.

Advanced intelligent driving is a key feature of ZERON. Founder Huang Zehua holds a master’s degree in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University and has years of experience in computer vision research and development. During his time at TuSimple, besides being a co-founder, Huang Zehua also served as an Engineering Partner and Senior Vice President of Engineering, responsible for the hardware business of autonomous vehicles. On the other hand, Zhang Hongsong’s years of manufacturing experience at Sany Heavy Truck and BAIC Foton Daimler can complement the overall vehicle development capabilities of this new truck startup company.

According to the plan, ZERON’s first batch of products are divided into two models, focusing on the short-haul freight market for new energy heavy trucks. Specifically, ZERON will independently develop in core areas such as powertrain, integrated thermal management, and autonomous driving technology.

Currently, ZERON has equipped its vehicles on the first-generation platform with independently developed segmented electric drive axles, a vehicle thermal management system based on heat pump technology, wire-controlled chassis, efficient battery layout, high-passability body structure, and connected driving data calculation. These key technologies are expected to enable mass production and delivery of two models in the fourth quarter of 2023.

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Regarding this round of financing, Cong Zhen, the founding managing partner of Skyview Fund, expressed optimism about the combination of “intelligent driving + traditional manufacturing” from ZERON, considering that electric heavy trucks designed with a forward-thinking approach are the future of the industry.

Lenovo Group Vice President and Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group Partner, Dennis Song, stated that intelligent electric heavy trucks are a definite development trend, and high-speed trunk logistics is an important vertical scene at the trillion-level. By combining forward-looking research and development capabilities with a deep understanding of transportation scenarios, achieving large-scale production can not only realize a complete commercial cycle but also lay the necessary foundation for refining and iterating autonomous driving platform capabilities. ZERON team is an excellent composite team that combines senior car manufacturing and autonomous driving experience.