Zhi Ji plays his second card.

Author | Qiu Kaijun

  Editor | Qiu Kaijun

Following L7, SAIC’s high-end brand IM launched its second car, the LS7.

On February 10th, IM Auto held a launch event in Mile, Yunnan, announcing the configuration and price of the intelligent pure electric mid-to-large luxury SUV IM LS7, which is officially on sale nationwide. IM LS7 has six sub-models, with prices ranging from 3.098 to 4.598 million yuan.

Five models belonging to Pro, LUX and Elite started pre-orders on the same day with delivery estimated in March. The range covers 550-625 kilometers with over 90kWh of electricity. The Pure version with rear-wheel drive will be available for pre-order in the second half of this year with deliveries starting later this year. Unlike the first five models, this standard range version is designed for commuting in the city.

Note: The range of the Pure version with rear-wheel drive has not yet been announced.  
Data source: IM Auto Official

The second move of IM Auto still adheres to the two major labels of high-end and handling.

The so-called high-end is not only reflected in the price of over 300,000 yuan, but also in the many first-class or top-level designs or configurations applied, including Star Fall Ice Sensation Front Dome, half-frame steering wheel, ultra-narrow border large-scale scene screen, rear zero-gravity floating seat, and fully horizontal folding co-pilot seat.

In terms of handling, IM LS7 is still the focus of differentiation, equipped with a chassis tuned by WAE Williams master, EcoG suspension system, Bentley electromagnetic dynamic damping adjustment system, and Brembo front four-piston integrated high-performance braking system. It is determined to seize the handling label of the intelligent electric era.

“Those who understand naturally understand” has become a catchphrase of Liu Tao, the co-CEO of IM Auto. He repeatedly emphasized that IM Auto designs and selects components from the perspective of being responsible for its users. In response to the question of whether the pricing is too high, he said that the cost of LS7 is definitely not low, “we are truly conscientious automakers”.

Multiple Leading Technologies

Although the price is over 300,000 yuan, an area that Chinese brands find it hard to reach, IM LS7 has given many reasons for its price.The most prominent reason is that it leads the industry with innovative design and configuration.

From the exterior view, the windshield of the IM LS7 is extremely eye-catching. IM Automobile calls it the “Star Fall Ice Feeling Front Dome” – the windshield extends almost to the position above the B-pillar, giving the driver the largest longitudinal vision of the same level, up to 106 degrees.

“Star Fall Ice Feeling Front Dome”

This huge piece of glass is pressed into shape using the same advanced technology and special manufacturing equipment as the domestically produced C919 aircraft, and its safety performance is nearly four times that of national standards.

Regarding the insulation issue that consumers are concerned about, Liu Tao explained at the press conference that this glass also uses the “triple-layer silver plating technology” for the first time, which can make the ultraviolet isolation rate reach 99.99%; combined with the largest-in-class 45cc air conditioning compressor and the unique “Air Curtain” technology, the temperature control effect is worthy of being called “King of Fast Cooling”.

When you open the driver’s door, the LS7’s steering wheel will immediately attract you – this should be the first domestically produced mass-produced vehicle with a half steering wheel, an application that is generally only found in racing cars. With the permission of regulations and the advancement of technology, it became IM’s first mass-produced application. This steering wheel, along with the dome and the huge scene display screen that can be raised and lowered, brings the driver the largest visible area in China.

The half steering wheel of the IM LS7

No one can ignore the LS7’s large screen, which is almost horizontally traversing the entire car. The huge intelligent scene display screen is composed of a 26.3-inch screen and a 12.3-inch co-pilot screen, which support separate lifting. At the same time, below the large screen, there is also a 12.8-inch touch screen. In the era of “rolling” screens, it is difficult to roll up the screen of the LS7.

In addition to the three leading-edge technologies of the dome, half steering wheel, and scene screen, the LS7 has many stunning designs and technologies.

IM Automobile uses intelligent electric technology to reshape the space of the SUV.

The LS7 is 5049mm long but has a wheelbase of 3060mm, making it the largest among electric SUVs of the same level, and it also has a crushing-level headroom in the rear row (1030mm), together constituting “the largest interior space among vehicles of the same level” in response to the strong demand for space from 85% of mid-to-high-end SUV users.Zero Gravity Seat

Within this space, IM Auto can extravagantly design the space layout, the most eye-catching of which is the “Zero Gravity Float Feeling Seat” provided on the right rear. After starting the zero-gravity mode with one button, the front passenger seat can be completely folded and fully stored under the glove box of the front row by means of the longest electric slide rail (1955mm) in the history of SUVs. The zero-gravity seat can be fully expanded, with the footrest raised, to form a reclining angle of 121 degrees, with a larger support surface, that achieves an average pressure of only 0.27 N/cm2 over the whole body, bringing the experience of “zero gravity”.

In terms of the electric drive system, IM Auto has released a new generation of high-nickel 6 series single-crystal high-voltage 100 kWh high-energy battery, which can achieve a charging speed of 400 kilometers in 26 minutes, and the energy density of the entire package exceeds 190 Wh/kg, also reaching the highest in the same class. The custom version of the black-label aluminum-magnesium alloy direct waterfall oil-cooled motor carried by IM LS7 uses EVD vector four-wheel drive technology, and the switching time between two-wheel drive/four-wheel drive is only 300ms. The acceleration speed of the rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive versions is only 6.5 seconds and 4.5 seconds per hundred kilometers, respectively.

In terms of body strength, IM LS7 uses a large amount of submarine-grade steel and a hard-top cage structure, drawing on the submarine’s ring-like rib structure and PRB battery pack integrated body stiffness gain technology, with a full-vehicle torsional stiffness of 36,000 N·m/deg for IM LS7.

In terms of intelligence, IM LS7 is also at the forefront of the industry. The hardware includes NVIDIA OrinX ultra-high computing power intelligent driving chip, dual Lidar, Qualcomm 8155 intelligent cabin SoC chip, gigabit Ethernet transmission speed, AMOLED 2K ultra-clear interactive screen, etc. In terms of software, the intelligent cabin adopts the new-generation all-domain fusion intelligent and innovative interaction IM OS 2.0, and the intelligent driving adopts the IM AD evolvable intelligent driving assistance system.

In terms of intelligent driving functions, in addition to the conventional L2 functions, LS7 will also be equipped with advanced intelligent driving assistance such as Urban Navigation Assistance (NOA), High-Speed Elevated Road Navigation Assistance (NOA), and high-precision automatic parking, etc. However, these functions will be rolled out online one after another.

IM NOA has been successively launched in various cities nationwide, and the NOA based on high-precision maps is also scheduled to begin public testing before the end of the year. The development of NOA for cities without high-precision maps will be completed by the end of 2023.## Rolling with a Purpose

During the product launch, Liu Tao introduced that the LS7 is equipped with over 130 of the top-tier configurations or functions in the auto industry, and they are all “fully equipped.”

Liu Tao, Co-CEO of IM Auto

It seems that IM’s strategy with the LS7 is to roll with the new entrants in the auto industry to integrate the top configurations found in luxury and top-tier cars to give people a value experience.

“In response to market competition, we must roll with the times. However, rolling must have a bottom-line thinking, knowing what to do and what not to. For instance, in the area of driver control, IM is determined to roll to the extreme, above and beyond our competitors – this is homage to professional rolling,” said Liu Tao.

Liu Tao believed that phones and the internet are markets where the rules of long-tail apply, whereas the automotive industry operates on the idea that each customer segment has its own long-tail and each brand must have its own super long-tail. For IM, this super long-tail must be “driver control.”

Therefore, in terms of driver control configurations, the five models that are launching have standard equipment, including a high-strength lightweight full-aluminum chassis, front double-wishbone + rear multi-link independent suspension, WAE Williams Master-level chassis tuning, all-scenario intelligent air suspension, Bistable Magnetic Ride Control system, and Brembo front four-piston integrated high-performance braking system.

Liu Tao also emphasized that IM LS7’s air suspension is a closed air suspension, and in areas where the air is thin, such as the plateau region, it can still respond quickly to road undulations. “Being able to travel on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau with air springs is characteristic of our bottom-line logic, which is unique to the IM LS7.”

Liu Tao also introduced the “purposeful rolling” aspect, indicating that as a sedan, IM L7 should not use air springs because of their limited value, which could actually reduce the sensation of driver control. Another example is the processing power with the Orin chip – “just having four Orin chips doesn’t make it good. Today, simple stacking of computational power does not solve the pain points of the user experience. Stacking computational power will make people who don’t understand impressed, but it will also consume more electricity. Moreover, if communication between boards isn’t handled properly, it will bring significant challenges to data and software, resulting in more user pain points.”

Liu Tao believed that the reasonable direction of rolling with a core focus on the user experience is the true solution.

Nevertheless, with so many high-end configurations, the cost of IM LS7 is very high.Liu Tao stated that, on the one hand, the automotive industry benefits from economies of scale, so rapidly achieving the appropriate volume will increase its pricing control capability, which is a strong market demand. On the other hand, high-tech features do not necessarily mean high prices. It is important to choose appropriate high-tech new technologies suitable for the product, which will also increase the controllability of prices.

“For example, the LS7’s large front panoramic glass roof is indeed more expensive than ordinary glass, but if it is done on a large scale, the cost will quickly come down. Also, regarding the display screen, due to previous cooperation experience, the suppliers have more confidence in us and they proactively provide us with higher definition, higher color resolution, and better interactive experience screen solutions with even lower costs.”

Liu Tao believes that the LS7 is not expensive. “The cost of the LS7 is definitely not low. We really create cars with a conscience. What we hope is that users can directly perceive the value of the high-end configuration through the experience of the LS7 and understand the product value of the IM brand, which is hard to return once tried.”

Goal: 45,000 vehicles this year, 200,000-300,000 vehicles by 2025

IM’s LS7 was first unveiled on December 20, 2022, and pre-orders were opened. At that time, blind booking of 3,000 vehicles was achieved within an hour.

“On February 10, when it was launched, the total orders for the IM LS7 surpassed 12,000 vehicles,” Liu said. “The order situation last night (February 10th) exceeded our expectations again. The official website and app were under great pressure for a short time, resulting in webpage lagging, which indirectly explains that users are very concerned about the LS7.”

IM has high goals for 2023 with L7 and LS7. “In 2023, IM Automotive hopes to achieve total sales of 45,000 vehicles,” Liu Tao said.

He also stated that with the support of SAIC Group, he is “most confident” in the production capacity of IM Automotive. “SAIC produces and sells six to seven million vehicles annually with the world’s top supply chain capabilities. Many lighthouse factories, including Huayu Auto, are giving IM Automotive the green light and will provide the best resources to IM.”

In the second half of this year, IM will launch the LS6, a brand new mid-to-large-sized SUV comparable to the Model Y. In the first half of 2024, IM Automotive will also launch the L5, comparable to the Model 3.

The fifth car model of IM Automotive has not yet been finalized,” more of a way of thinking and solving problems for the future.”

Liu Tao believes that although sales volume is important for a new brand, it is not as important as the product value of an early stage. With the gradual expansion of the IM Automotive product lineup, the growth of sales volume is also a natural thing. “In the long run, he hopes that IM Automotive will achieve sales of 200,000-300,000 vehicles by 2025.”## 这是一个示例


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This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email bd@42how.com.