“We must endure loneliness and withstand pressure on the way of technology entrepreneurship.” This is what Zhang Lei, chairman and CTO of Xi’an TsingTech New Energy Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as TsingTech), often said to his colleagues.
It is under the inspiration of these words that Zhang Lei and his team focus on the fields of new energy vehicle motors and electronic control segments. In just 5 years, they have developed from a start-up team of 10 people into a “Specialized, refined and new” enterprise above the designated scale with more than 100 top talents, products widely supplied to major domestic car companies and sales doubled year after year.
Concentrated on R&D to bring high-level products with reliable technology
Zhang Lei, born in 1979 and graduated from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Applied Electronics of Tsinghua University with a Ph.D. degree, has worked as the Asia Pacific regional technical director of a renowned foreign-funded company and the chief R&D engineer in a domestic listed company before embarking on the road of entrepreneurship.
Enthusiastic about technological innovation, he always has an entrepreneurial dream of realizing his own value through technological innovation. At the beginning of 2017, Zhang Lei and his old colleague He Fengxiao talked about his intention to start a business, and unexpectedly, the two peers had the same idea. In the former company, Zhang Lei is the company’s R&D chief engineer, and He Fengxiao is the vice president of the supply chain. One of them understands technology and the other understands the market, so they quickly set a business direction — R&D and production of new energy vehicle motors and electronic controls. Having set this direction, they established companies in Beijing and Xi’an High-tech Zone respectively, built a research and development platform, formed a research and development team, and get deep into research and development...
"Battery, motor, and electronic control are the three electric systems of new energy vehicles, and my doctoral research is exactly on two of them. In the current era, new energy vehicles are absolutely the optimal opportunity for China’s auto industry to “overtake at a corner”. Objectively speaking, only by unswervingly walking on the road of technological innovation can we truly catch up.” Zhang Lei said. However, in this field the United States and Japan have mature technologies and high market share, and it’s hard for a startup to compete with them, and so is for the “young” TsingTech. Therefore, they decided to find another way and set a breakthrough point in the segmented blue ocean market.
“In the blue ocean market, the scale may not be much large but the technical threshold is very high. We started late in this field, so we have to concentrate on research and development to create high-level products with the best technology and the highest reliability.” Zhang Lei said, in the end, they realized industrialized technology innovation relying on the “High Efficiency Power Conversion and Green Transport Center” of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Applied Electronics of Tsinghua University, and created an electronic shifting motor product after three-year hard work, which won the second prize in the Shaanxi Division of the “China Innovation and Entrepreneurship Contest”, and was favored by capital.
Finally, this product, with higher energy density, smaller size and lower cost than American and Japanese products, was favored by Shaanxi Automobile Holding Group Co., Ltd., Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group Co., Ltd., and Beiqi Foton Motor Co., Ltd. as soon as it was put into the market. The product became popular immediately and orders came intensively and quickly, and TsingTech became the only enterprise in the field of high-class commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles to realize mass production of electronic shifting motors.
Constantly enlarging industrial layout and striving to be the “leader”
Up to now, TsingTech has grown up with more than 100 team members, independent R&D platform, production lines and management system. The company has won various awards in scientific and technological innovation competitions and passed the certification of national high-tech enterprise, and the R&D projects have been listed as major R&D projects by the Ministry of Science and Technology and Shaanxi Provincial Department of Science and Technology. The products and solutions developed by the company based on three independent core technology platforms (motor design platform, motor control software and hardware platform, and power system software and hardware platform) have also been widely used in various fields of electrified transport, including electric vehicles, railway transport, multi-electric aircraft, hydrogen fuel cell engines and quadruped robots, etc. In addition, the company’s sales have doubled year after year, from CNY 1.26 million in 2018 to nearly CNY 50 million this year.
“We aim to go public and strive to be a ‘leader’ in the industry.” Talking about the company’s future, Zhang Lei said that in the future, TsingTech will stand on this fertile land for entrepreneurship in Xi’an High-tech Zone, “add an innovation chain to the industrial chain and add an industry chain to the innovation chain”, enlarge the industrial layout, enrich the product types, try all to realize the company value in high-quality development, and make contribution to the development of China’s new energy vehicle industry.
This article is reproduced from Tsinghua Alumni Association