Alibaba-SAIC joint venture presents electric SUV in China

IM Motors, the Chinese joint venture of SAIC and Alibaba, has unveiled its second production model. After the debut model, the electric luxury sedan IM7, now follows with the LS7, a five-seat electric SUV.

The LS7 has already gone on pre-sale in China at prices ranging from 350,000 to 500,000 yuan (the equivalent of around 47,300 to 67,600 euros at present). As announced by the company, the electric SUV is scheduled for market launch in February 2023. Within an hour after the end of the premiere event, more than 3,000 pre-orders were reportedly received.

The LS7 will be offered with either a 250 kW rear-wheel drive or a 425 kW all-wheel drive – in both cases, permanent magnet synchronous motors. The two battery options offer 90 kWh or 100 kWh capacity and use NMC batteries from CATL. The range in the Chinese CLTC is said to be up to 660 kilometres.

In terms of design language, the LS7 follows the IM7 debut model, yet the LS7 is not a direct SUV offshoot of the sedan. Distinctive details on the headlights and bumper set the LS7 apart from the IM7. The E-SUV is 5.05 metres long (with a wheelbase of 3.06 metres), two metres wide and 1.73 metres high. The design of the rear lights is reminiscent of Aston Martin’s DBX combustion SUV.

The three humps at the top of the windscreen stand out on the exterior. These are likely to house various sensors for semi-autonomous driving functions. However, the reports on the premiere of the LS7 do not mention such systems.

In the interior, not only the various displays stand out, but also a steering wheel in the ‘Yoke’ style introduced by Tesla. However, the Chinese company developed a different concept, which basically seems to be a mixture of Tesla’s yoke steering wheel from the Model S/X and the steering wheel from the Model 3/Y: IM Motors continues to rely on steering column levers. As in the Model 3/Y, the controls in the steering wheel itself are only two small rotary wheels – and no touch surfaces as in Tesla’s Yoke steering wheel.


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