Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has unveiled its first electric vehicle, the SU7, aiming to become one of the world’s top five automakers. The sedan boasts “super electric motor” technology, with acceleration speeds rivalling Tesla and Porsche EVs. Xiaomi’s CEO, Lei Jun, expressed ambitions to build a “dream car comparable to Porsche and Tesla” over the next 15 to 20 years.
The SU7, set to debut in a challenging market, offers unique selling points. It shares an operating system with Xiaomi’s popular phones and electronic devices, providing seamless access to mobile apps. With its established consumer electronics brand and millions of “Mi Fans,” Xiaomi sees the automobile as a smart device, potentially breaking through in the evolving automotive landscape.
The electric sedan comes in two versions, offering impressive driving ranges of up to 668 km and 800 km on a single charge, surpassing Tesla’s Model S. The pricing remains undisclosed, but Lei hinted at a justifiable cost, emphasizing the car’s advanced technology and winter-ready features, including fast-charging capabilities in low temperatures and obstacle recognition in challenging conditions.
Xiaomi’s move into the electric vehicle sector aligns with a broader trend among Chinese tech companies. Facing smartphone market saturation, companies like Huawei and Baidu have also ventured into electric vehicles. Xiaomi plans to invest $10 billion in autos over a decade, with BAIC Group, a state-owned automaker, producing its cars in Beijing.
Despite Lei’s ambitious vision, Xiaomi’s share price experienced a modest decline, reflecting the competitive landscape in China’s EV market. BYD commands a one-third share, while Tesla holds 9%, making Xiaomi’s entry challenging. However, gaining approval from authorities and securing production capacity set Xiaomi apart in an industry grappling with oversupply.
In a dynamic market, Xiaomi’s success hinges on its ability to leverage its established brand, capitalize on shared technology, and navigate the complexities of China’s rapidly evolving electric vehicle landscape.