Padmasree Warrior, one of Silicon Valley's best-known female tech executives, has joined the electric car game, having revealed that she will be the CEO and head of software development of Chinese auto startup NextEV's U.S. division.
The 55-year-old Indian-born executive, who was the chief technology and strategy officer at Cisco Systems Inc. until September, said that she wanted to bring her 30 years of technology experience to a new field that would make her skills relevant, according to The Wall Street Journal.
"I wanted to be part of creating something that is bigger and different," she said.
Shanghai-based NextEV, founded in 2014, plans on taking on Tesla in the electric car market, despite not having produced any EVs yet. However, the startup has built a single-passenger race car that has competed in the FIA Formula E races for electric vehicles.
NextEV has so far received $500 million in funding from Sequoia Ventures, Hillhouse Capital, Internet giant Tencent and other well-known investors, and it aims to raise up to $1 billion and make a "supercar" available next year that can match sports cars and Tesla's "ludicrous" mode, Fast Company reported.
Warrior, who also previously worked for Motorola, Microsoft and file-sharing company Box, said that she will be in charge of the global development of software for NextEV's cars and some vehicle development. She added that the goal for NextEV is to make cars "for the mobile and Internet era" that are cheaper than Tesla's lineup.
"We're trying to imagine how the experience of having a car would be different today, and how you would involve the customer in the process," Warrior told Re/code in an interview.
NextEV currently has R&D centers in locations around the world, including Hong Kong, London, Munich and Jose, where Warrior will be based, and it has so far hired 400 employees. The company will make its products available in China first.