China’s Xiaomi joins crowded EV race with ‘dream car’ to take on Tesla

Xiaomi is set to formally launch its much-awaited electric car – the new Speed ​​Ultra 7 (SU7) sedan – in Beijing on Thursday night.

Lei Jun, founder and CEO of the popular Chinese smartphone brand, teased the launch this week by saying he wants the company’s first electric vehicle to be The “best looking, easiest to drive and smartest car” is priced at less than 500,000 yuan ($69,180).

“Xiaomi wants to build a ‘dream car’ compared to Porsche and Tesla,” he said on Weibo on Wednesday.

He said, “If we want to make good cars, we must seriously learn from these two best carmakers in the world.”

Xiaomi will announce detailed pricing at the launch event.

However, the company’s big auto ambitions come at a time when competition in the industry in China has intensified. The world’s largest EV market, overwhelmed by heavy government subsidies over the past decade, has become overcrowded.

Currently there are more than 200ChiefManufacturers producing pure EVs and plug-in hybrids. A price war broke out last year as companies tried to boost sales despite weak consumer demand.

According to official data, the average profit margin will fall to only 5% in 2023. BYD, the industry’s biggest player, said earlier this week that its quarterly profit growth was the slowest in two years as sales slowed.

According to Lei, Xiaomi’s SU7 has been on display in showrooms in 29 cities in mainland China since Monday.

Xiaomi, which made its name as a maker of smartphones and other consumer electronics, contributed 13% to global and Chinese smartphone sales in the last quarter of 2023, according to Counterpoint Research data. It ranked 5th in China for the entire year of 2023.

People look at Xiaomi’s first electric vehicle SU7, displayed in the showroom of a newly opened Xiaomi store in Beijing, China, on March 25, 2024. Reuters/Tingshu Wang

In 2021, Xiaomi announced it would invest $10 billion over the next decade in a subsidiary focused on smart EVs.

Lei said in his Weibo post that the standard version of the Xiaomi SU7 has a starting range of 700 kilometers (435 miles), which is better than the long-range version of Tesla’s Model 3.

By setting the price below 500,000 yuan, Xiaomi appears to be targeting premium consumers in an intensely competitive market. It is significantly cheaper than the imported Porsche Taycan, whose price starts at 898,000 yuan ($124,248). It is positioned to compete against Tesla’s Model S sedan, which starts at 698,900 yuan ($96,700).

The price of EV in China is much lower than the rest of the world. For example, BYD’s most affordable model, the Seagull hatchback, has been priced as low as 69,800 yuan ($9,658).

Leave a Comment