Electronics behemoth unveils a sophisticated rival to the Porsche Taycan, aiming for international markets; Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun declares the firm’s ambition to rank among the top five global car manufacturers in the next 15 to 20 years.
Xiaomi has introduced its first production vehicle, the SU7, positioned as a contender against the Porsche Taycan. This electric saloon is set to be globally available following its initial release in China next year.
The launch of the SU7 comes 1,003 days after Xiaomi, a prominent Chinese electronics company, first announced its venture into the electric vehicle market in 2021. The company pledged an initial investment of RMB10 billion (£1.1 billion), with an additional RMB70 billion (£7.8bn) earmarked for the next decade. The SU7 is just one of several models Xiaomi plans to release.
During the Shanghai unveiling, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun expressed the company’s goal to rank among the top five car manufacturers globally within 15 to 20 years. Lei Jun expressed that Xiaomi aims to challenge both Porsche and Tesla, creating an innovative dream car for the new automotive era.
Xiaomi has disclosed plans for future models, including an SUV, as part of their expansion strategy. The foundational technology for Xiaomi’s first car is a new electric platform named Modena, designed to accommodate both 400-volt and 800-volt architectures and various motor configurations.
Sawyer Li, Xiaomi’s head of design, led the in-house styling of the SU7. Li, a renowned Chinese designer with experience at BMW, played a pivotal role in designing the BMW iX and Circular Vision Concept. The SU7 boasts an impressive aerodynamic profile with a drag coefficient of just 0.195, setting it apart as one of the most aerodynamically efficient production cars to date. Dimensionally, the SU7 is slightly larger than the Porsche Taycan, with a longer wheelbase offering more interior space.
The SU7 also excels in aerodynamics, rivalling the efficiency of other industry leaders like Geely’s new Galaxy E5 and GAC’s Hyper GT. Xiaomi has emphasized the structural integrity of the SU7, particularly its rear body structure, which is produced using advanced manufacturing techniques.
The SU7 is powered by Xiaomi’s proprietary electric motors, named after traditional combustion engine configurations. The base model features the V6 motor, designed for the 400-volt architecture, while the mid-range V6s, compatible with 800-volt systems, offer increased power. The dual-motor version combines these for a significant power output and rapid acceleration, supported by an ultra-fast charging system.
A more powerful V8s or ‘HyperEngine’ is slated for release in 2025, promising exceptional efficiency and power density, operating on the 800-volt system.
Lei revealed that Xiaomi’s prototype motors have reached speeds up to 35,000rpm in testing, hinting at even more potent versions of the SU7 in the future. Initial models will be equipped with a high-capacity CATL-supplied lithium-ion battery, ensuring a range of over 497 miles/800km. A more substantial 132kWh battery option is also in development.
The SU7’s charging capabilities are remarkable, with Lei noting significant range gains from brief charging periods.
Xiaomi, founded in 2010 by Lei Jun, has rapidly grown from a smartphone manufacturer to a major player in various technology sectors. After becoming China’s leading smartphone seller in 2014, Xiaomi expanded its portfolio to include electric home appliances. As of 2023, Xiaomi held a significant share of the global smartphone market.