As part of our retrospective review of “Chinese E-Auto Start-Ups: That’s what they did in 2018”, we had already made the following statement in the room: “You can be sure that we will hear more from WM Motor in 2019” and this seems to be true now. Because, as the start-up from China could now announce, they were able to take in a led by Baidu round of financing another three billion yuan (almost 400 million euros).
WM Motors uses the investment for expansion of research and development
Linear Venture and the Taihang Industrial Fund have joined as investors in the new round. Already in October it was announced that WM Motor is planning a $ 288 million financing round. This is now a little higher. The company’s existing donors include Chinese technology giants Baidu Inc and Tencent Holdings Ltd, as well as Sequoia Capital China and the state-backed investment firm China Chengtong Fund.
WM Motors has now collected almost 23 billion yuan (about three billion euros) in its investment rounds. The 400 million revenue from the last investment round will be used primarily for the development of production facilities and for research and development, it is said from business circles. Among other things, the start-up is planning a joint research center for the development of autonomous driving solutions together with Baidu.
BorgWarner as a strategic partner for the development of alternative-drive vehicles
In September 2018 it became known that the start-up with the supplier BorgWarner entered into strategic cooperation. The agreement between the two companies provides for a common cause in the development of electric and hybrid vehicles in China.
Initially, a three-year term of the agreement has been agreed. During this time, BorgWarner will supply a comprehensive range of electric drive technologies to WM Motor. Already with the WM EX5 one has worked together and deepened this now.
2018 rather sluggish, due to the extreme complexity of the delivery process
WM Motor started volume production of the EX5 at the end of September. By the end of November, the startup had delivered vehicles in 18 cities in China and set up 39 sales and service offices in 26 cities. However, the company was unable to reach the delivery target of 10,000 units in 2018. This is due to the extreme complexity of the delivery process, as Freeman Shen, founder, chairman, and CEO of WM Motor, has indicated.