Chinese Firm Xiaomi Unveils First EV, Vows to Dominate Industry

Chinese consumer electronics firm Xiaomi recently unveiled its first electric car, the Xiaomi SU7, and detailed plans to dominate the electric vehicle industry. A social media post from Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun noted that while the company had not finalized its debut electric car’s price, Xiaomi would spend more than $1.4 billion (10 billion yuan) on the development of an EV that would compete with the likes of Tesla and Porsche.

Lei said the Xiaomi SU7 is currently in development and would hit the Chinese market in a few months. Developed by a design team that worked for Mercedes-Benz and BMW, the electric SUV surpasses both the Tesla Model S and the Porsche Taycan in key performance metrics such as acceleration, Lei said.

The Xiaomi executive made a three-hour presentation detailing the company’s plans to become a leader in China’s oversaturated electric vehicle market. Xiaomi’s first electric car has been in development for three years and will enter an industry packed with electric offerings from a myriad of domestic car producers and foreign automakers such as Tesla.

With an increasing number of Chinese electric vehicle companies looking to differentiate themselves from the competition through novel technologies, Xiaomi intends to equip its electric cars with high-tech features such as autonomous driving. The consumer electronics company also intends to create a “Human x Car x Home” smart ecosystem that leverages its extensive experience with home appliances and smartphones.

As such, Xiaomi will make its debut electric car compatible with its internet-connected home appliances and smartphones, Lei said during his announcement. He also emphasized Xiaomi’s efforts to boost data privacy throughout its devices and design a battery electric car that goes beyond America’s rear-end collision safety standards.

Once Xiaomi conquers the local electric vehicle market, the consumer electronics company wants to become one of the top five carmakers in the world. However, Xiaomi will have a hard time carving out a portion of the Chinese market for itself. China is the largest electric vehicle market on the globe, and major automakers such as Tesla have set up shop in the country to tap into its massive market.

Billions of dollars in electric vehicle subsidies and tax breaks have allowed hundreds of companies to develop electric cars and made competition in the country intensely fierce. Competition has been so fierce that giants such as Tesla have made drastic price cuts several times to remain competitive. High prices coupled with rising interest rates have also reduced electric vehicle demand in most major markets in recent months.

As competition gets even stiffer, smaller startups such as QuantumScape Corp. (NYSE: QS) may need to get super creative in order to claim and maintain a share of the electric vehicle market, especially internationally.

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