A hopeful plug-in automaker called WM Motor just raised itself a billion dollars. If you're scratching your head wondering just how that happened, here's the scoop. A former executive with Volvo's China-based parent company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group raised $1 billion in funds for his electric-vehicle startup, Bloomberg News says. Freeman Shen, who worked for Geely when it acquired Sweden-based Volvo from Ford in 2010 for $1.8 billion and eventually became CEO of Volvo China, is spearheading WM Motor. The company's goal is to build its first vehicle in 2018 and then ramp up to make as many as 100,000 units a year by 2021, Bloomberg says, citing an interview with Shen. It's a good thing that modesty isn't an issue with Shen, as the name WM is short for weltmeister, which means "world champion" in German.

Shen is hoping that the combination of his experience and Chinese government muscle pushing for more electric vehicle adoption can make those goals a reality. Shen has worked in the automotive industry for more than two decades, including stints with both Fiat and Borg Warner. The Chinese government is pushing for a tenfold increase in plug-in vehicles – to about 3 million a year – over the next ten years as a way to deal with its notorious pollution problems.

WM Motor isn't alone among China-based companies hoping to make a big splash with electric vehicles. Engadget reported earlier this month that China-based LeEco, an affiliate of EV maker Faraday Future, is planning a $1.8 billion EV factory in China that will have the capacity to build 400,000 vehicles a year. In fact, the plant will be part of a $3-billion, car-oriented "Eco Experience Park" that will include a theme park. May we suggest building a rollercoaster called The Weltmeister?

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