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China’s Xiaomi Unveils Fast-Charging EV to Rival Tesla, Porsche

The smartphone giant’s chief Lei Jun said the company was aiming to become ‘one of the world’s top five automakers’

Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun speaks at an event on the company's first electric vehicle (EV) SU7, in Beijing, China
Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun speaks at an event on the company's first electric vehicle (EV) SU7, in Beijing, China. Photo: Reuters


Xiaomi — the latest entrant in China’s crowded electric vehicle market — unveiled its first EV on Thursday, touting its ability to charge quickly and rev up to speeds faster than Tesla and Porsche’s cars.

The smartphone giant’s chief Lei Jun said the sedan, dubbed the SU7, with the SU short for ‘Speed Ultra’, was equipped with “super electric motor” technology capable of delivering high acceleration speeds.

The highly anticipated model is likely to go on sale in several months.


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Its debut will come at a time when China’s auto market – the world’s largest – is wrestling with a capacity glut. The slowing demand for EVs has also stoked a bruising price war in the country.

But that didn’t stop Lei from outlining big ambitions.

“By working hard over the next 15 to 20 years, we will become one of the world’s top 5 automakers, striving to lift China’s overall automobile industry,” he said at the unveiling.

Those plans include building “a dream car comparable to Porsche and Tesla,” he added.


‘Tesla beating’ driving charge

The SU7 will come in two versions – one with a driving range of up to 668 km (415 miles) on a single charge and another with a range of up to 800 km. By comparison, Tesla’s Model S has a range of up to 650 km.

Pricing has yet to be announced. Lei said the cost would “indeed be a bit high, but one that everyone will think is justified.”

Amid one of the coldest Decembers for China on record, the SU7 was also being positioned to appeal to consumers worried about winter.

Lei said it had fast-charging capabilities in low temperatures and is equipped with advanced tech allowing it to recognise obstacles under challenging conditions such as falling snow.

The autonomous driving capabilities of Xiaomi cars would be at the forefront of the industry, he also said.


Attendees hold their mobile phones as Xiaomi unveils its first electric vehicle (EV) SU7 onstage, at an event in Beijing, China
Attendees hold their mobile phones as Xiaomi unveils the SU7 on stage. Photo: Reuters


Connecting shared devices

The SU7 is also expected to appeal to customers due to its shared operating system with Xiaomi’s popular phones and other electronic devices. Its drivers will have seamless access to the company’s existing portfolio of mobile apps.

“Xiaomi is a well-established consumer electronics brand with hundreds of millions of ‘Mi Fans’, or members of its smart device ecosystem,” Bill Russo, CEO of Shanghai-based advisory firm Automobility, said.

“As such, they have a significant opportunity to break through as the automobile becomes a smart device.”

Even so, Lei’s ambitions failed to boost Xiaomi’s share price. The company’s Hong Kong-listed stock gave up earlier gains to finish 0.3% lower on Thursday.


BYD biggest competitor

China’s fifth-largest smartphone maker has been seeking to diversify beyond its core business to EVs amid stagnating demand for smartphones – a plan it first flagged in 2021.

Other Chinese tech companies that have partnered with automakers to develop EVs include telecoms giant Huawei and search engine firm Baidu.

Xiaomi has pledged to invest $10 billion in autos over a decade and is one of the few new players in China’s EV market to gain approval from authorities who have been reluctant to add to the supply glut.

Its cars will be produced by a unit of state-owned automaker BAIC Group in a Beijing factory with an annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles.

Its biggest competition will likely come from BYD, which commands a one-third share while Tesla has 9%, according to third-quarter figures from Zheshang Securities.


  • Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena


Also read:


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Regulatory Filing Reveals First Images of Xiaomi’s Debut EV


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China EV Sales Hit Record in October Amid Demand Slowdown Worry


Chinese EV-Makers Braced For Wave of Consolidation – FT



Vishakha Saxena

Vishakha Saxena is the Multimedia and Social Media Editor at Asia Financial. She has worked as a digital journalist since 2013, and is an experienced writer and multimedia producer. As a trader and investor, she is keenly interested in new economy, emerging markets and the intersections of finance and society. You can write to her at [email protected]


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