Chinese EV start-up reveals 'world champion' model

Updated 2017-12-12 10:33:16 CGTN

Weltmeister (WM), a Chinese start-up making electric vehicles (EV), announced its first mass production model on Monday.

The company held an event in Shanghai with a revamped brand appearance to demonstrate the new EX5 SUV.

But it didn't mention much about the car itself. Instead the company leaders stressed how different they are from competitors.

Car-makers and buyers are interested in WM because it's created by an industry insider, instead of newly-found Internet companies.

WM's leader Freeman Shen was previously head of Volvo operations in China. And he expressed his ambition goal of providing an affordable and futuristic driving experience to all average Chinese families.

PowerPoint car-making?

China's tech world has already been bored by startups claiming to build the best EV. There's even a meme "PowerPoint car-making" to mock the empty promises given by some companies at the press release.

One well-known example is LeEco, a video cloud service that's trying to build EVs. The firm is now struggling to find investors and its CEO, Jia Yueting, has not been in his homeland for months.

"Weltmeister" is a German word meaning "world master" or world champion. The company said the name shows its ambition to be the best carmaker on our globe.

In his speech at the event, Shen elaborated on why his company is nothing like a fund-raising scandal.

Industry fights back

"I hope WM can be a demonstration of China's industrial power," Shen told the audience at the event.

Some managers at WM are veterans in China's auto industry, who previously worked for the Chinese branch of Toyota, Geely and more.

"They came to WM because they want to jump out of the conventions and create something new," Shen said.

"I see 2018 as the year that the Chinese car-makers fight back at the western brands."

The company is currently building its factory in the city of in east China's Zhejiang Province.

With policies in mind

Another reason Shen chose 2018 to be big year is because of government support.

China is encouraging car-makers to go electric like never before.

Last month, the traffic ministry authorized more cities to issue the special green car plates to new energy vehicles, which is a clear sign that more support is coming.

Baidu's COO Lu Qi showed up at the event. As the "AI national team" member appointed by the Chinese government to work on self-driving cars, Baidu has reached cooperation with WM.

Targeting Internet audience

It's clear that WM wants to catch the attention of online buyers.

The event was filled with online memes. Even the sponsors were introduced in a very informal manner: appearing on the screen like a string of "danmaku" (on-video comments).

But some memes were mistakenly used during the show, confusing audiences around the stage at various moments.

The event invited American Idol singer Jax to sing Ellie Goulding's "Love Me Like You Do" while revealing the new car.

The song is famous to China's young listeners, although the film "Fifty Shades of Grey" was never aired in Chinese mainland.

Jax's performance was not among her best, but she did convey WM's message that the car can be loved like the consumers do.

Pre-orders for the car will be available in next April at a Beijing car expo.

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