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Xiaomi CEO says EV business moving quicker than expected, production set for first half 2024

After over six months of virtually zero mention of the status of its Xiaomi Automobile brand, the CEO of Xiaomi Corporation has shared a progress update that “exceeds expectations.” Despite previous licensing issues in China, Xiaomi Automobile now appears on track for EV production next year, and there are some images circulating around the internet that might hint to the smartphone giant’s first EV design.

Xiaomi Corp. is better known as a Chinese electronics company based on an Internet of Things (IoT) platform – currently specializing in the manufacturing of smartphones, mobile apps, laptops, and home appliances.

In March of 2021, however, we reported that Xiaomi had shared definitive plans to manufacture its own brand of EVs aimed at the mass market in China. By September, the corporation had officially registered Xiaomi Automotive as an EV company, but was still searching for an experienced partner in EV manufacturing to help it transition from building smartphones to building entire cars.

By late 2021, Xiaomi Automotive signed a contract to establish its entire automotive business in the suburb of Yizhuang in Beijing. The footprint would include its headquarters, R&D, and EV manufacturing constructed in two phases.

Xiaomi co-founder Lei Jun vowed to invest roughly $10 billion over the decade to ensure Xiaomi Automotive could deliver EVs beginning in 2024. Little progress had been shown up to that point, and last we spoke of Xiaomi Automotive, it was in talks with BAIC Group’s EV automotive brand, BAIC BluePark New Energy Technology Co. to potentially build co-branded EVs together.

Now, nine months later, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun has once again spoke to the EV business, but with no mention of any co-branding. Instead, the company has made huge strides in development and still looks to deliver upon Lei Jun’s original timeline of 2024 deliveries.

Xiaomi EV
Xiaomi cofounder and CEO Lei Jun / Credit: Xiaomi Corp.

Xiaomi EVs set to arrive in 1H 2024 with top-tier self-driving

According to a recent report by CnEVPost, CEO Lei Jun gave a status update to Xiaomi EV development during a March 5 meeting in China, relaying that the project is progressing beyond expectations. EV prototypes have recently completed winter testing and production is expected to commence in the first half of 2024.

Xiaomi Automotive’s R&D team now consists of over 2,300 people and Lei said he spends half his time as the corporation’s CEO focused specifically on the EV business. Last summer, Lei said Xiaomi was testing its own self-driving EV technology and that it aimed to be top-tier in the industry by 2024.

The nascent automaker has since revealed that its first EV model will be a sedan equipped with LiDAR supplied by Hesai Technology out of Palo Alto, California. The report points out that spy images of a potential Xiaomi EV are beginning to circulate on Chinese social media platform Weibo, showing a streamlined, albeit camouflaged, exterior.

Xiaomi’s flagship EV sedan is expected to start at a price around 300,000 yuan (~$43,100). With a start of production about a year away, we can probably expect an official unveiling from Xiaomi Automotive in the next six months. Stay tuned.

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Scooter Doll is a writer, designer and tech enthusiast born in Chicago and based on the West Coast. When he’s not offering the latest tech how tos or insights, he’s probably watching Chicago sports.
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