Chinese startup WM Motor has raised around 400 million euros in a financing round led by China’s Google, Baidu. The investment is to flow mostly into R&D as WM Motors and Baidu start their ‘Intelligent Vehicle Joint Research Center’.
Other investors in the new round of funding for WM Motors are Linear Venture and the Taihang Industrial Fund. In total, the EV maker (WM is short for world champion, ie. Weltmeister in German) has been able to collect almost 23 billion yuan (around three billion euros).
In October last year, the company was reportedly able to raise 288 million USD for both manufacture and R&D. Baidu was again the main funder in addition to Tencent, Sequoia Capital China and the state-funded investment company China Chengtong Fund. Now, WM’s latest flush of fresh capital should primarily fund research and development.
Freeman Shen, founder, chairman and CEO of WM Motor, said that they are going to upgrade the company’s technology, products, new retail modes as well as their intelligent manufacturing ability in 2019. Among other things, WM Motors and Baidu are to start their ‘WM Motor & Baidu Apollo Intelligent Vehicle Joint Research Center’ where they are also planning to work on a breakthrough in what they call an ‘intelligent cockpit’.
At the end of September last year, the Chinese manufacturer agreed on cooperation with BorgWarner. This deal initially involves a three-year contract. BorgWarner is contributing a number of electric drive technologies and application systems to the partnership, including the eDM electric drive module, that already drives WM Motor’s first all-electric SUV EX5.
In spring 2018, the company started selling the EX5 electric SUV in China. Three battery variants are available for ranges of 300, 400 or 460 kilometres. The performance data of the motor are given by the Chinese with 160 kW and 315 Nm torque.
According to WM Motor, the company is planning to launch about one electric vehicle per year at competitive price points and under the Weltmeister label, WeiMa in China.