In a strategic move to tap into China’s flourishing electric vehicle sector, Xiaomi, the prominent consumer electronics firm, has unveiled its electric car model, the Xiaomi SU7. This entry into the electric vehicle market positions Xiaomi to compete directly with industry giants such as Tesla and Porsche. Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun recently revealed that the SU7 is currently in trial production and is slated for a domestic market launch in the coming months. The company has allocated a substantial investment, surpassing 10 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion), in the development of the electric vehicle.

Lei Jun highlighted the SU7’s noteworthy features during a comprehensive three-hour presentation. The vehicle, pronounced “Sue Qi” in Mandarin, outpaces rivals like Porsche’s Taycan and Tesla’s Model S in acceleration and various performance metrics. Xiaomi’s ambitious plans extend beyond just manufacturing electric cars; the company aims to become a key player in autonomous driving technology. Lei Jun emphasised that the SU7’s design team comprises individuals with prior experience at renowned automotive companies such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Scheduled for sales initiation in 2024, the SU7’s development spanned over three years, coinciding with the exponential growth of the electric vehicle market in China. Domestic automakers have been intensifying efforts to distinguish their products by integrating advanced technological features. Xiaomi, traditionally known for smartphones and home appliances, aims to leverage its expertise to create a comprehensive “Human x Car x Home” smart ecosystem.

An interesting aspect of Xiaomi’s approach is the seamless integration of the SU7 with the company’s smartphones and other internet-connected home appliances. This synergistic connectivity aims to enhance the user experience and create a holistic smart environment for consumers. Xiaomi has also highlighted its commitment to data privacy, ensuring secure communication between devices and surpassing U.S. safety standards for rear-end collisions.

Furthermore, the SU7 is designed to be compatible with Apple products, including the iPhone, iPad, CarPlay, and AirPlay. While Apple has yet to release its own car, the collaboration with Xiaomi could potentially pave the way for future developments in the tech and automotive industries.

Two variants of the Xiaomi SU7 appeared on a list of tax-exempt new energy vehicles published by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The vehicles are described as purely battery-powered, boasting an impressive driving range of 628 kilometres to 800 kilometres (390 miles to 500 miles). The Ministry identified a subsidiary of the state-owned Baic Group as the manufacturer for the Xiaomi SU7.

As Xiaomi enters the electric vehicle market, it faces stiff competition from existing players. Nio recently debuted its ET9, scheduled for deliveries in the first quarter of 2025, while Huawei’s Aito brand unveiled its M9 SUV, set to begin mass deliveries in late February 2024. Other competitors, including Zeekr and Xpeng, are also gearing up for product launches.

Xiaomi’s foray into the electric vehicle sector follows its recent achievements, with record sales exceeding US$3 billion across various e-commerce platforms during this year’s Singles Day shopping festival. The company has expressed its commitment to research and development, earmarking 20 billion yuan for this purpose in 2023, signifying a significant increase from previous years. Xiaomi’s move into electric vehicles aligns with broader industry trends and the increasing demand for sustainable transportation options in China.