Alibaba, SAIC Venture Start Mass Production of First Electric Vehicle

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Alibaba, SAIC Venture Start Mass Production of First Electric Vehicle

Photo credit: IM Motors



An Alibaba Group and SAIC Motor-backed venture said it has started mass production of its first smart electric vehicle (EV) and will begin sales later this month.

The premium EV venture, IM Motors, said mass production of its luxury sedan has kicked off at SAIC’s factory in southeast Shanghai.

IM, which stands for Intelligence in Motion, said the pure EV, dubbed IM L7, will hit the market on March 29 and deliveries will start in April.

Intelligent vehicles are rapidly evolving, integrating artificial and human intelligence. IM Motors is deploying a plethora of cutting-edge technologies as the industry moves from driver assistance towards full autonomy. 

The China Passenger Car Association has forecast new energy passenger vehicle sales in the world’s second-largest economy could jump 84% on the year to 5.5 million units in 2022. China is already the largest maker and buyer of EVs globally.

Test Run

The IM L7 passed test runs in nine Chinese cities last December. To refine users’ experience, SAIC Motor, one of the largest automakers in China, said in December that there had been 88 iterations of the software architecture over the previous month.

The EV is powered by California-based chip designer NVIDIA’s Drive Hyperion platform, including a high-performance computer and sensor architecture.

The high-end sedan is 5,098 millimeters long, 1,960 millimeters wide and 1,482 millimeters tall and features panoramic-viewing and continuous-driving functions.

Drivers of the IM L7 enjoy an intelligent driving system, customized driver’s seat and 5G social media abilities, among other innovations.

IM L7 has more than 40 modules allowing updates delivered and downloaded over-the-air (OTA) for systems. IM Motors will update firmware OTA every three months while software OTA can be updated in real-time.

IM Motors, Zhiji Motors in Chinese, made its first appearance at car show Auto Shanghai last year, during which it made the IM L7 available for pre-order.  

The brand’s first mass-production vehicle will be equipped with 12 high-definition cameras to safely navigate urban roads, enable high-speed driving and precision automatic parking.

To address range anxiety, the brand said in January last year that its vehicles will come equipped with either a standard 93kWh Si doped lithium-ion battery, or an optional top-spec of 115kWh.

IM Motors was established in 2020 by SAIC Motor, Alibaba and Zhangjiang Hi-Tech, with SAIC Motor holding the largest stake.

Additional reporting by Ivy Yu

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