Chinese electric car startup WM Motor has announced the development of a new model which it claims will take on Tesla.
WM Motor will launch 3 new EVs (electric vehicles) within the next couple of years targeting consumers in China’s fast-growing cities. The company’s strategy differs from Tesla and other start-ups in this space, including LeSee, NextEV, Future Mobility, Qianu Motors, in that the new models will aim to be more affordable.
Freeman Shen founded WM Motor two years ago after leaving Chinese automaker Geely to launch the new company. His vision is based on creating a mass-market all-electric, more affordable car, similar to the Model 3.
Shen, 46, has an engineering Masters degree from University of California and spent two decades working in both the U.S. and China for BorgWarner, Fiat, and Geely. Shen said of the initiative that
“I don’t think traditional car companies are doing well selling cars, especially with their customer experience. With smart, connected cars, I believe I can change that.”
The startup automaker plans on building an assembly plant, most likely in the Zhejiang province in eastern China. WM Motor will be nearly doubling its workforce to around 600 this year in China and Germany.
The first WM Motor model will be taking on the $35,000 Tesla Model 3. After launching in 2018, Shen says the production volume will climb to 100,000 cars per year within three-to-four years of the launch. The likely price is around the current Model 3’s price, or cheaper, he said.
China will be the market for the WM Motors electric cars at first, but Shen has his eyes on the US market for the longer term.