Xiaomi Founder Hopes For ‘Win’ With Upcoming Electric Car

Xiaomi's SU7 electric vehicle prototype. Image credit: Xiaomi

Xiaomi founder and chief Lei Jun says company may struggle to keep up with demand as it prepares electric car launch

Chinese entrepreneur and Xiaomi founder Lei Jun has said he has high hopes for the company’s foray into electric vehicles and is aiming for success.

“I came into car-building with an aim to win,” he said in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV that aired on Sunday.

The Xiaomi chairman and chief executive said the company was using proven technologies and would aim to do a “good job with the first car”, adding, “Under this premise, we innovate.”

Lei said Xiaomi had developed its first EV prototype with an investment of more than 10 billion yuan (£1.1bn) with the work of 3,400 engineers, compared to an industry average of 1bn to 2bn yuan and 300-400 engineers.

Xiaomi's Lei Jun speaks to CCTV. Image credit: CCTV
Xiaomi’s Lei Jun speaks to CCTV. Image credit: CCTV

R&D investment

“So we are making use of more than ten times the industry’s investment,” he said.

Lei said he was inspired by Apple’s Steve Jobs and expressed confidence Xiaomi’s EV would find a place in China’s crowded electric car market.

Later he said he had concerns that the car, set for launch in the first half of 2024, might not gain “high acceptance”, but said high demand could also pose a challenge.

“I’m more worried that if everyone buys it, resulting in a long wait time, say one or two years, we’ll definitely get a bad rap,” he said.

Xiaomi's SU7 electric vehicle prototype. Image credit: Xiaomi
Xiaomi’s SU7 electric vehicle prototype. Image credit: Xiaomi

SU7 EV launch

Lei launched Xiaomi in 2010 in a similarly competitive smartphone market and the firm has grown into the No. 3 smartphone maker worldwide by shipments, according to IDC.

Some details of the upcoming SU7 and SU7 Max EV have been disclosed via regulatory filings.

The sedan is larger than both Tesla’s Model 3 and Nio’s ET5, and will be sold with two battery options offering a range of up to 800 kilometres on a single charge, according to filings.