Update: Added 's response.

Li Auto has formed certain goals for the project and will see phased results next year, according to local media.

(Image credit: CnEVPost)

Li Auto (NASDAQ: LI) is planning a foray into autonomous trucks, an effort that will be led by its vice president of intelligent driving business, Lang Xianpeng, local media Jiemian reported today, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) maker has been seeking autonomous truck-related talent through multiple headhunters, and has already interviewed people who have worked at other autonomous driving companies, according to the report.

The job title is director of truck autonomous driving technology, and the main tasks include being responsible for system design, development, testing and pilot validation of autonomous driving for factory logistics trucks, the report said.

Candidates need to have more than 10 years of experience, and more than six years of experience in R&D management and technical architecture, and have led the construction of core business systems, according to the report.

Over the past year, Li Auto's internal team has held several discussions around the value point of L4 autonomous driving technology, with the main target directions including passenger cars and commercial vehicles, the person familiar with the matter said.

In mid- to late-June of this year, Li Auto management largely determined that it would enter the autonomous truck segment of the commercial vehicle sector, the person said.

There is a view within Li Auto that the company has accumulated a large amount of data through assisted driving systems for passenger cars, and the data is of great value in L3 and L4 intelligent driving systems, Jiemian's report said.

From that perspective, Li Auto has the advantage of going across sectors, the report said.

Li Auto's internal team has formed certain goals for the project and will see phased results next year, according to Jiemian.

Li Auto does have the strength to incubate an autonomous truck project internally, the report said.

In terms of its main business, Li Auto has seen rapid sales growth so far this year, and has far surpassed and , with its deliveries in the first half of the year already exceeding those for the whole of 2022, Jiemian said.

In terms of company size, Li Auto's current market capitalization stands at $42.25 billion, compared to Nio's $18.75 billion and Xpeng's $16.41 billion, the report noted.

Hours after Jiemian's report was published, local automotive media outlet Yiche quoted Li Auto's response as saying that the company has no plans to enter the autonomous truck space for the time being.

Li Auto is indeed hiring in the autonomous truck space, but it's for a smart-driving logistics program for efficient parts distribution, the company said.

Li Auto delivered 34,914 vehicles in August, up 2.29 percent from July and up 663.82 percent year-on-year, according to the company's September 1 release.

In the first eight months of the year, Li Auto delivered 208,165 vehicles, up 176.10 percent year-on-year.

To date, Li Auto's cumulative deliveries since its inception stand at 465,499 units, according to data monitored by CnEVPost.

Deutsche Bank on China EV sales: Nio, Xpeng could see better volumes in H2, while Li Auto could be in more defensive position