Xiaomi, one of the world’s largest smartphone and gadget makers, has entered the electric vehicle (EV) market with its first car, the Xiaomi SU7. The sleek sedan, unveiled on Tuesday in Beijing, aims to compete with the likes of Tesla and Porsche in the highly competitive Chinese EV market.

The SU7’s design and performance

The SU7’s design combines influences from various luxury and sports cars. The front end features a large grille-like LED display that can show different patterns and messages. The headlights resemble a McLaren supercar, while the overall shape and fastback roofline are reminiscent of the Tesla Model S and the Porsche Taycan. The rear end has a connected taillight that spans the car's width, and a faux diffuser that adds to the sporty look.

The Xiaomi SU7 is available in three trim levels: SU7, SU7 Pro, and SU7 Max. The base model has a single electric motor that drives the rear wheels and produces 295 horsepower. The Pro and Max models have dual motors that power all four wheels and deliver 663 horsepower. The top speed of the base model is 210 km/h (130 mph), while the higher-end models can reach 265 km/h (165 mph).

The battery pack of the SU7 is supplied by two of China’s leading battery makers: BYD and CATL. The base model uses a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery, while the Pro and Max models use a nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) battery. The battery capacity and range of the SU7 have not yet been disclosed, but previous leaks suggested an 800-volt architecture and a 100 kWh battery for the premium models.

The SU7’s technology and features

The SU7 is equipped with Xiaomi’s HyperEngine, a proprietary electric motor and powertrain system that claims to offer high efficiency and performance. The SU7 also has Xiaomi’s HyperOS, an in-house developed operating system that can power both smartphones and cars. The HyperOS allows the SU7 to integrate with Xiaomi’s ecosystem of smart devices and services, such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and internet of things.

One of the most distinctive features of the SU7 is its lidar system, which is installed behind the front windshield and on the roof of the car. The lidar system uses laser beams to scan the surroundings and create a 3D map of the environment. The lidar system is expected to enable advanced driver assistance and autonomous driving capabilities for the SU7, although the exact level of autonomy is not yet clear.

The SU7 also has a camera on the B-pillar, which suggests that the car may have face recognition unlocking functionality. The interior of the SU7 features a minimalist dashboard with a large touchscreen that controls most of the functions of the car. The SU7 also has a full-width digital display that shows the speed, battery level, and other information.

The SU7’s price and availability

The price of the SU7 has not yet been announced, but Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun said that the company aims to build a vehicle that “matches up to Porsche and Tesla” in terms of quality and performance. Lei also said that Xiaomi has invested more than 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) in its EV project so far and plans to invest another 100 billion yuan ($15.7 billion) over the next decade.

Xiaomi does not manufacture the SU7, but Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. (BAIC), a state-owned Chinese carmaker that also produces vehicles for Mercedes and Hyundai in China. The mass production of the SU7 is expected to start in December 2023, and the deliveries are expected to begin in February 2024.

The SU7 is currently only targeted at the Chinese market, where Xiaomi has a strong presence and loyal fan base. It is not clear if Xiaomi has any plans to sell the SU7 outside China or if it will face any regulatory or legal hurdles in doing so.

The SU7’s competitors and prospects

The Xiaomi SU7 is entering a crowded and competitive EV market in China, where more than 200 EV makers are vying for a slice of the pie. The SU7 will face direct competition from Tesla, which dominates the premium EV segment in China with its Model 3 and Model Y. The SU7 will also compete with Porsche, which launched its Taycan EV in China in 2020 and has seen strong demand for it.

Other competitors of the SU7 include domestic EV brands such as Nio, Xpeng, Li Auto, and BYD, which have been gaining popularity and market share in China with their innovative and affordable EVs. The SU7 will also have to contend with the challenges of EV infrastructure, such as charging stations, battery swapping, and service networks.

The SU7’s success will depend on leveraging Xiaomi’s brand image, technology, and ecosystem to attract and retain customers. The SU7 will also have to prove its reliability, safety, and quality, as well as its performance, design, and features. The SU7 electric car is a bold and ambitious move by Xiaomi, but it remains to be seen if it can live up to its hype and expectations.

Comparison table of the SU7 electric car and its rivals

Model Price (USD) Power (hp) Range (km) Top speed (km/h) Battery (kWh)
Xiaomi SU7 Max N/A 663 N/A 265 100
Tesla Model S Long Range $79,990 670 663 250 100
Porsche Taycan Turbo $152,250 670 381 260 93.4
Nio ET7 $69,185 644 700 240 100

The comparison table shows that the SU7 Max has similar power and top speed as the Tesla Model S Long Range and the Porsche Taycan Turbo, but its price and range are not yet revealed. The Nio ET7, another Chinese EV, has slightly lower power and top speed, but a higher range and a lower price than the Tesla and the Porsche. The SU7 Max will have to offer a competitive price and range to stand out from its rivals.

The SU7’s potential impact and future plans

The SU7 is not only Xiaomi’s first EV but also the first EV from a major smartphone maker. The SU7 represents Xiaomi’s ambition to expand its business beyond smartphones and gadgets and become a leader in the smart mobility sector. The SU7 also reflects Xiaomi’s vision of creating a seamless connection between its devices and services and offering a personalized and intelligent user experience.

The SU7 is expected to have a significant impact on the EV market in China and beyond, as it will challenge the established players and attract new customers. The SU7 may also inspire other smartphone makers like Apple and Huawei to accelerate their EV plans and enter the market. The SU7 may also influence the development of EV technology and innovation, especially in the areas of lidar, operating systems, and ecosystem integration.

Xiaomi has said that the SU7 is only the first of many EVs it plans to launch. Xiaomi has also said that it will explore other types of vehicles, such as SUVs, MPVs, and motorcycles, as well as other modes of transportation, such as electric bikes, electric scooters, and skateboards. Xiaomi has also said it will collaborate with other partners, such as carmakers, suppliers, and service providers, to create a comprehensive and open EV platform.

The SU7 is a bold and ambitious move by Xiaomi, but it remains to be seen if it can live up to its hype and expectations. The SU7 will have to prove its reliability, safety, and quality, as well as its performance, design, and features. The SU7 will also have to overcome the challenges of EV infrastructure, competition, and regulation. The SU7 is a milestone for Xiaomi but also the beginning of a long and uncertain journey. @via carnewschina.com and Panorica.

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