Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi adds electric vehicle to its mobility offerings

100,000 Chinese drivers join queue just to check out the 'SU7' in a showroom

The electric vehicle subsidiary of Chinese consumer electronics brand Xiaomi on Tuesday announced its first product – the Speed Ultra 7 (SU7) sedan – will be ready for deliveries this month.

In a Weibo post, the biz – which is famed around the world for well-priced smartphones, and sells electric toothbrushes, wireless routers, smartphones, rice cookers at home – promised to ramp up volume at its “Xiaomi EV” unit after the March 28 launch.

Xiaomi SU7 EV

The Xiaomi SU7 EV - Click to enlarge

"In 29 cities across the country, 59 stores have opened reservations simultaneously," Xiaomi’s EV unit announced in a social media post.

On Wednesday, chief executive Lei Jun claimed those stores had booked 100,000 new appointments for curious drivers following news of the car’s launch.

The day prior, he maintained Xiaomi EV was confident it could compete in an industry that is currently "very fierce." Lei noted that the mobile phone business differed greatly from the auto market in terms of growth stage and user expectations.

Xiaomi will only sell its car in China, an unusual move. Western – and in particular, US-based – EV-makers like Tesla compete in Asia. And Chinese brands like BYD and Polestar (A Volvo brand, Volvo is majority owned by China’s Geely) sell outside the Middle Kingdom.

Those Chinese brands may soon hit bumpy roads as in late February US president Joe Biden announced an investigation into Chinese smart cars and their potential as a national security threat. The commander-in-chief claimed that his concern was that cars made in China and sold in the US might potentially collect sensitive data and transmit it overseas – and the cars could even be remotely accessed or disabled.

That stance may deprive US buyers of the SU7, which Lei Jun reportedly claimed has better acceleration than either Porsche or Tesla EVs.

If only that were the measure of success.

The most important thing for Xiaomi EV, according to Lei, is smart technology. And in China, EV success at the moment seems to be all about the bells and whistles – or rather sleeping kits, heartbeat monitors and in-car gaming. ®

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