This is the production version of the new IM L7, a high tech Chinese electric car aimed at the dominance of Tesla Model S in the high end electric vehicle market. The IM L7 certainly looks eye catching, with a sleek body and a pronounced front. The IM L7 will hit the Chinese auto market in Q1 2022.
IM is a new brand owned by IM Motor, a joint venture SAIC Motor, Alibaba and Shanghai’s Pudong New Area. Both SAIC and Pudong New Area are majority owned by the Shanghai municipal government. The manufacturer of the IM-branded cars is SAIC Motor. The Chinese name of the company is Zhiji Motor (智己汽车). The IM L7 is their first car.
The rear looks interesting, with a car-wide light unit and a trunk that seems to narrow at the end. The mirrors are very large. Characters on the left: 上汽集团, SAIC Group, the entity above SAIC Motor.
The IM 7 is a big car. It measures 5098/1960/1485, with a 3100 wheelbase and a 2290 kilo curb weight. Happily, it has a lot of power to carry all that size around. The base version uses a single rear motor with 340 hp. The top version has a twin-motor setup, with 237 hp at the front and again 340 hp at the back. The motors are mated to a 93 kWh battery. Range of the twin-motor car is 615 kilometers NEDC. The chassis was developed with input of Williams Advanced Engineering, it features four-wheel steering and a ‘CDC’ electronic control damping system. The manufacturer media image shows a pod above the windshield. This is not a sensor but a camera to record your journey in 4K ultra HD. However, the pod is nowhere to be seen on the images of the real production car, so perhaps it is an option.
We haven’t seen independent images of the interior yet but IM has a nice clip on their site, showing the advanced dashboard. The mean screen measures 39 inch, and it can go up and down, showing either the whole screen or half. The part most to the left can operate independently. The screen in the center stack is 12.3 inch. The steering wheel is square shaped with one-spoke design and a touch-pad on each side. IM says the L7 is equipped with a 22-speaker sound system, good for a combined output of 1120 watt.
The IM L7 has a ‘IM AD’ intelligent driving system, consisting of a Nvidia Jetson Xavier chip-set, 12 high-precision cameras, 5 millimeter wave radars, Lidar, and 12 ultrasonic sensors. With that, the L7 can park itself, be summoned, drive autonomously on the highway, and drive semi-autonomously in the city.
The IM L7 appears to be a very impressive package. Can it kill Tesla? Much will depend on price and on how fast IM can actually start selling vehicles. Price is yet unknown, but bet it will end up somewhere between the Tesla Model 3 and the Tesla Model S. Tesla may get a little bit worried indeed.