Chinese electric vehicle maker WM Motor showcased its first sedan model named M7 on Friday. The company boasts that the car has an advanced sensor package and will be affordable as it aims to carve out a place in the country’s competitive auto market.
Why it matters: WM Motor’s first sedan model, the M7, will compete head to head with Nio’s highly-anticipated ET7, Xpeng’s P7 and P5 sedans, and the Zhiji L7, a premium electric vehicle co-launched by SAIC and Alibaba.
Details: The M7 sedan features extensive autonomous driving hardware, with 32 sensors, including three lidar units that use light to create a three-dimensional representation of surrounding objects. The model can provide advanced driving capabilities on highways and urban roads.
- It also delivers a total computing power of 1,016 trillion operations per second (TOPS) with four Nvidia Orin chips, matching that of Nio’s ET7 and offering around seven times the power of Tesla’s two-chip full self-driving (FSD) computer. This tech spec provides headroom for upgrading the vehicle in the future, the company said.
- WM Motor has yet to reveal the price of the sedan. But founder and chief executive Freeman Shen said the M7 will target China’s mainstream vehicle segment with prices ranging from RMB 150,000 to RMB 300,000 ($23,505 to $47,010) in a press conference on Friday in Shanghai.
- It is unclear whether the Baidu-backed EV maker will use the Chinese search engine’s self-driving technology in the new model. WM Motor expects to start deliveries of the M7 sedan by the end of 2022.
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Context: WM Motor, which is also backed by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li’s telecommunication firm PCCW, has delivered over 70,000 vehicles, failing to match rivals such as Nio and Xpeng, which have handed over 140,000 and 100,000 vehicles respectively as of September.
- WM’s rival Nio has plans to deliver its first sedan, the ET7, with a price range between RMB 378,000 to RMB 506,000 in the first quarter of 2022. Nio is also reportedly mulling a new sub-brand targeting the middle to lower auto market.
- Meanwhile, Xpeng is on track to begin delivering its Lidar-equipped P5 with a starting price of RMB 157,900 at the end of this month. It has sold over 50,000 P7 cars, its first sedan model priced from RMB 229,900, since deliveries began in July 2020.