The Chinese electric mobility startup WM Motor has now begun selling their first vehicle model in China, the EX5. The mobility brand Weltmeister was set up by the startup in cooperation with a German agency.
Particularly notable with the EX5 is the price: thanks to solid subventions, the fully electric SUV costs between 20,000 and 28,000 euro, depending on the version.
Three different battery versions are available for ranges of up to 300, 400 or 460 km. The technical specifications of the front-wheel drive motor were said to be 160 kW with 315 Nm torque. The battery packet, which was not fully described, is said to be stored in the floor of the vehicle, which measures 4,58 x 1,83 x 1,67 m and has a wheel span of 2.7 m. To charge the battery from 30 to 80 % capacity, WM motors has stipulated a waiting time of about 45 minutes.
Currently the startup does not have any dealerships, so orders must go through the factory, which WM Motor is calling a C2M (Customer to Manufacturer) model. It theoretically takes about three weeks between ordering the vehicle and the home delivery of the final product. The ordering books are open as of now, but the company has warned that the majority of deliveries may only take place in the second half of the year. There was also mention of the opening of a Brand Experience Center, but no mention of when or where this center would be established.
The EX5 will be manufactured in the Wenzhou factory, which is supported by smart manufacturing technology provided by Siemens, Bosch and Kuka, among others. Recently WM Motor also announced their plan to increase production capacity at the factory with a 685 million dollar investment, to double production from 100,000 vehicles per year to 200,000 annual production. Furthermore, the auto manufacturer has made plans to release at least one electric vehicle model per year, at prices under 300,000 Yuan (about €39,000). This was said by CEO Freeman Shen Hui at the Boao Forum for Asia. It was also announced a while back, that WM Motor was considering opening up for public investment in the USA.
The vehicles will be marketed under the Weltmeister brand, which was created in cooperation with the German-based design agency Strichpunkt. The company has been providing marketing services to the Chinese manufacturer since 2016, which has caused WM Motors to diversify and attempt to portray themselves as more than a simple car manufacturer, providing a variety of mobility services surrounding the vehicles themselves as well, such as Apps, digital services, car-sharing or bicycle rentals.
The Weltmeister brand, which means as much as “world champion” will be translated as WeiMa for the Chinese market, which means “strong horse”. The German branding agency has made it their mission to provide WM with a visual identity, which would be able to serve the global ambitions of the company, but also connect with the local Chinese aesthetics, such as typography.
WM Motor has received a total of 20 billion Yuan capital from investors such as the Minmetals Corporation, Envision Energy, Tencent and Baidu. Next to their HQ in Shanghai and their Wenzhou factory, WM also maintains a calculation unit in Beijing, an R&D center in Chengdu and a technology center in Germany.