IM Motors, founded in 2020, is a joint venture between Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, the automaker SAIC Motor, and a Shanghai-based industrial zone called Zhangjiang High-Tech.
IM Motors, a direct competitor to Tesla, is a high-end electric vehicle brand founded in 2020 and unveiled its first vehicles in early 2021. Its name is an abbreviation of the “Intelligence in Motion”, which clearly indicated that IM Motors is a smart vehicle-focused automaker.
A total of $1.4 billion (10 billion RMB) initial investment was made by IM Motors’ shareholders as a founding capital. Chinese EV maker’s first vehicle concepts ‘AIRO’ and LS7 are designed by English designer Thomas Heatherwick and showcased at Auto Shanghai in 2021. In 2022, IM Motors only sold around 5,000 EVs. It’s expected to sell more than 45,000 in 2023, thanks to the highly-popular electric SUV IM Motors LS7. A more affordable IM Motors LS5 is also on its way.
Who Owns IM Motors?
IM Motors is a joint venture between Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, the automaker SAIC Motor, and a Shanghai-based industrial and technology park called Zhangjiang High-Tech. SAIC Motor owns the majority (54%) of this joint venture. Alibaba and Zhangjiang High-Tech hold an 18 percent stake each. IM Motors’s main purpose is to design and manufacture fully electric high-end vehicles. The brand’s first cars are being produced at SAIC Motor’s Lingang plant in Shanghai, China, where SAIC made a handful of investments in 2021 to manufacture all-electric models.
IM Motors LS7 launched in December 2022 and received very positive feedbacks from Chinese customers. It’s been one of the most popular electric SUVs since the beggining of 2023. LS7 is also one of the first EVs that its battery can be bought seperately and paid in installments. Thanks to this purchasing option, its starting price is as low as $33,750 (239,800 CNY).
IM Motors LS7 comes with 90/100 kWh battery pack and 340/578-HP powertrain variants. It offers a CLTC range of up to 660 kilometers. All-wheel-drive LS7 can travel up to 625 km.
IM Motors L7 is first launched in April 2022 with its sleek-design and optional 11-kW wireless charging capability. It’s almost 5,1 meters long, wheelbase stretches to 3,100 millimeters. With a 0.21 drag coefficient, IM L7 is one of the most aerodynamic vehicles in the world.
L7 comes in three variants: L7 Elite, L7 Snake Performance Lite, and L7 Snake Performance. The RWD L7 Elite offers up to 675 kilometers of range and 340-HP, whereas Snake Performance model can produce as high as a whopping 605-horsepower and 730 Nm of torque.
When Will IM Motors Coming to United States?
IM Motors is meant to be a global high-end EV brand. SAIC Motors and Alibaba have been planning to sell electric vehicles in both United States and Europe. First deliveries should be made to European countries in the next couple of year. But US market entry is not a near-term goal for IM Motors. Don’t expect to see IM Motors vehicles in US soon.