The starting price of the new M7 EREV is not only RMB 40,000 lower than its predecessor, it is also significantly lower than the price of its main competitor.

(Image credit: Aito)

Chinese tech giant -backed new energy vehicle (NEV) brand Aito has launched a new version of its M7 SUV, which offers more options at lower prices and is set to make competition in China's extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) market even fiercer.

Richard Yu, head of Huawei's automotive business, launched the new Aito M7 at an event in Shanghai today, lowering the starting price by 40,000 yuan ($5,500) and adding a five-seat variant compared to the model previously on sale.

Aito is a premium car brand launched on December 2, 2021 by local automaker Seres Group with Huawei, and its first model, the Aito M5, was launched on December 23, 2021.

The Aito M5 is offered in both an EREV version as well as a battery electric vehicle (BEV) version, while the M7 is offered only in an EREV version.

The five-seat version of the new Aito M7 offers three options with a starting price of RMB 249,800, RMB 284,800 and RMB 309,800 respectively. Its six-seat version offers two options with starting prices of RMB 269,800 and RMB 329,800 respectively.

As a comparison, the old Aito M7 was offered in three variants with starting prices of RMB 289,800, RMB 309,800, and RMB 379,800 respectively.

The length, width and height of the new Aito M7 are 5,020 mm, 1,945 mm and 1,760 mm respectively, with a wheelbase of 2,820 mm. Apart from a 15 mm lower height, the new M7 has the same dimensions as its predecessor.

The new M7 is powered by a 1.5T engine and is available in rear-wheel drive as well as all-wheel drive versions, with a 0 to 100 km/h sprint time of 7.8 seconds and 4.8 seconds respectively.

All versions of the model are equipped with a battery pack with a capacity of 40 kWh, providing a battery range of up to 240 kilometers. It has a combined CLTC range of up to 1,300 km on a full tank of fuel and full charge.

The new M7 comes with Huawei's ADS 2.0 smart driving system, which the tech giant said is the first in China to enable HD map-independent smart driving on highways as well as urban roads.

By December, the model will be capable of navigation-assisted driving in all Chinese cities, Yu said.

The new M7 comes with Huawei's HarmonyOS, and Yu said he hopes the system will perform as smoothly on the vehicle as the Mate 60 Pro phone.

The new M7, which opens for delivery at launch, is expected to put pressure on other EREV makers in China.

The best-known EREV maker right now is (NASDAQ: LI), which has seen strong delivery growth this year.

Li Auto currently sells the five-seat Li L7, as well as the six-seat Li L8 and Li L9, which have starting prices of RMB 319,800, RMB 339,800, and RMB 429,800, respectively.

Li Auto has delivered more than 30,000 units per month in each of the last three months, including a record 34,914 in August. All three of its models delivered more than 10,000 units in August.

Aito delivered more than 10,000 units per month for most of the second half of 2022, when the gap to the Li Auto was not significant.

But the company was weak this year, delivering 5,015 units in August, about half of what it did a year ago.

($1 = RMB 7.2866)

Huawei-backed AITO to launch flagship SUV M9 in Q4