This New EV Brand Has Set Its Sights on Porsche and Tesla

Jackson Wheeler
8 Min Read


  • Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi announces entry into the automotive industry, with an ambitious plan for high-tech EVs.
  • The first electric model, set to go on sale this year, is the SU7 sedan, promising single- and dual-motor layouts, autonomous tech on board, and Xiaomi’s own battery packs.
  • The tech giant revealed details of its electric motors, curiously named after V6 and V8 engines, with the dual-motor version of the SU7 sedan promising a combined 664 hp.

By now we’ve seen a number of automakers old and new promise to take on Tesla directly, often by revealing sleek sedans that one could mistake for a Tesla design, while also offering large infotainment screens inside and very few physical buttons.

The formula for Tesla’s vision of the future is now familiar enough to the point where spotting one’s own car in a busy parking lot could be a challenge by the end of the decade.

The latest such hopeful is Chinese tech giant Xiaomi, which until now has been best known (at least to those who’ve spent some time in the Middle Kingdom) for its line of smartphones. But you won’t see yoke steering in its debut EV.

Days ago the company unveiled a prototype of a large sedan dubbed Xiaomi SU7, which stands for Speed Ultra 7, announcing its entry into the world of electric cars. Slated to go on sale later this year, the SU7 will be aimed directly at offerings from Tesla and Porsche, and looking at the photos perhaps it’s easy to see which model perhaps provided most of the design inspiration.

In effect, Xiaomi will be going boldly where Apple has decided to not go, despite quite a lot of rumors over the past decade, and where Sony has decided to team up with an existing automaker.

It certainly helps that Xiaomi is already an electronics giant, so it won’t be starting from scratch as Tesla once did. Much of the technological base is already there with the cars themselves slated to be assembled by automaker BAIC, and so is software, which will include autonomous driving capabilities.

And its plans for the next two decades are nothing short of ambitious.

a blue car parked on a road

The debut model, featuring some rather familiar design elements, is slated to go on sale this year in China.

XIAOMI

“Xiaomi has decided to invest tenfold, starting from the development of fundamental core technologies, committing to constructing an outstanding vehicle,” said Lei Jun, founder, chairman, and CEO of Xiaomi Group. “Through 15 to 20 years of effort, Xiaomi aims to become one of the top five global automakers.”

The company’s first model, however, will be landing later this year in China in a very busy segment that has already heard a few creaks created by too many choices. Xiaomi hasn’t discussed specific plans to sell vehicles in the US.

The three E-motors “rival the performance of traditional large V8 and V6 powertrains,” Xiaomi said.

The company said it has already invested over $1.4 billion in the development phase of its car project—a serious number even by modern standards—with over 3400 engineers working on the effort in China and elsewhere.

Among the tech promised, the debut sedan will feature not only lidar but also ultrasonic and millimeter-wave radar, in addition to 11 cameras as part of its hardware suite to allow hands-free driving.

Curiously enough, Xiaomi has named its electric motors after internal-combustion engines, dubbed HyperEngine V6 and V6s, and HyperEngine V8 and V8s. While this naming convention might confuse buyers, the company has an interesting (perhaps backward-looking) explanation for this nomenclature.

a group of metal tanks

The company’s electric motors are named after V6 and V8 engines.

XIAOMI

“The three E-motors, employing innovative technologies such as Bidirectional Full Oil Cooling Technology, S-shaped oil circuit design, and staggered silicon steel laminations design, rival the performance of traditional large V8 and V6 powertrains from the era of internal-combustion engines, pushing the industry’s performance boundaries to new heights,” Xiaomi said.

When it comes to performance, the base rear-wheel-drive SU7 promises 295 hp, along with a range of 415 miles in the CLTC cycle courtesy of 73.7-kWh battery. Featuring a 400-volt architecture, this version will act as the entry-level model powered by the V6 electric motor, promising 0-to-62 mph sprints in 5.3 seconds.

The more performance-oriented dual-motor SU7 variant won’t feature a “V8,” but will instead use a “V6” motor paired with a “V6s” motor.

Besides producing about 664 hp, these motors promise 2.8-second sprints to 62 mph. Range will grow a bit, to 497 miles, owing to a larger 101-kWh battery underneath.

Xiaomi has not released price targets for the two versions of the electric sedan, but given the battery sizes and autonomous sensor hardware on board it’s easy to see they won’t be cheap.

The era of large and tech-filled electric sedans is still in full swing, it seems, and we’ve seen a number of debuts in this segment just in the past couple of years, enough to make us wonder just how many pricey electric sedans the market can stomach.

The answer, at least in China, still seems to be “plenty,” as the country also has a wide selection of quite inexpensive EVs to balance things out for consumers. The same cannot be convincingly said for a number of other EV markets.

But in its quest to become one of the world’s top five automakers, Xiaomi will see plenty of challengers at home as well, including Nio and BYD, both of which have been dubbed Tesla competitors.

Will Chinese EV makers see much success in Europe in the coming years, or will European automakers, along with Tesla, continue to account for the majority of EV sales? Let us know what you think.

Headshot of Jay Ramey

Jay Ramey grew up around very strange European cars, and instead of seeking out something reliable and comfortable for his own personal use he has been drawn to the more adventurous side of the dependability spectrum. Despite being followed around by French cars for the past decade, he has somehow been able to avoid Citroën ownership, judging them too commonplace, and is currently looking at cars from the former Czechoslovakia. Jay has been with Autoweek since 2013. 

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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