Home » A Chinese Smartphone Manufacturer Wants To Build A Better EV Sports Sedan Than Tesla And Porsche

A Chinese Smartphone Manufacturer Wants To Build A Better EV Sports Sedan Than Tesla And Porsche

Xiaomi Su7 Ts2
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If you’re a big Android fan, or you live on tech Reddit, you’re probably deeply acquainted with Xiaomi. If you’ve never heard of the Chinese company, well, it’s the second-largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world. Xiaomi executives figured that the smartphone market couldn’t grow forever, and thus the company is now turning its eyes to building EVs. It’s set its sights remarkably high for its debut model.

The company’s first EV is to be known as the Xiaomi SU7. In Chinese, that’s pronounced “su-chee,” but in English, the letters are said to stand for Super Ultra. It’s boastful, sure, but the company expects to back up that claim with solid performance. Rather than settling for an easy entry somewhere mid-market, Xiaomi wants to build one of the premiere performance EVs right from the outset.

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It’s true that any company can write down some fancy numbers on a spec sheet and call it a car. Xiaomi itself is an interesting company, which captured a lot of buzz towards the end of the last decade as it quickly gained market share, though even the company had to admit it was growing too fast. The launch of the company’s Mi 11 phone was also rocky, with numerous people online complaining about the quality.

All that being said, Xiaomi is an industrial giant that appears very serious about the project, announcing it live in its EV Technology Launch stream. The SU7 is set to be released in two models. The single-motor model will be known as the SU7, delivering 295 horsepower to the rear wheels. Meanwhile, the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive version will be called the SU7 Max with a mighty 664 horsepower on tap.

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Performance-wise, the Max is said to achieve a 0-100 km/h time of 2.78 seconds. With 100 km/h being equal to 62 mph, that figure isn’t directly comparable with 0-60 mph times, but close enough to get an idea. The regular Tesla Model S will do 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds, and a Porsche Taycan Turbo will do the same in 3.0 seconds. However, it’s worth noting that the Model S Plaid (2.3 seconds) is quicker, and the Taycan Turbo S (2.6 seconds) is probably close to a dead heat. In any case, the Max is claimed to offer a top speed of 165 mph flat out, compared to 130 mph for the base model.

Xiaomi Ev Technology Launch 2 55 35 Screenshot

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The company is very proud of besting rival automakers on certain statistics, though the comparison here is imperfect—the Taycan Turbo S being able to outperform the Taycan Turbo figures quoted here.

The dual-motor SU7 Max will feature a 101 kWh, 800-volt battery designed in partnership with Chinese battery giant CATL. When using a compatible 800-volt charger, the company claims it can add 242 miles in 10 minutes, or 316 miles in 15 minutes. The rear-wheel-drive SU7 uses a 73.6 kWh BYD Blade battery which only supports 400-volt charging. The top-tier Max will boast a range of up to 497 miles as per the China Light-Duty Vehicle Test Cycle (CLTC), with the rear-wheel-drive model offering a still-healthy 415 miles. It’s worth noting that the test cycle is based on Chinese driving conditions and usually delivers higher numbers than European or American testing methods.

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The announcement isn’t a total surprise, with Xiaomi first publicly announcing its intent to go into cars back in 2021. Where other tech companies like Sony and Apple have dithered around whether or not they’re actually building a car, Xiaomi looks to have committed itself more seriously and says mass production is due to begin in 2024. Xiaomi has paired up with China’s BAIC Motor Corporation, which will produce the SU7 in an existing factory located in Beijing. Pricing is yet to be announced.

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Su7 Colors

The smartphone manufacturer has tapped some serious talent to get this project off the ground. Li Tianyuan was the main designer behind the SU7, having been hired from BMW. If you’ve heard that name before, it’s likely from his prior work on the BMW iX. James Qiu, who worked on the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX design, was also involved. Chris Bangle even served as a design consultant, the man who revolutionized or ruined BMW’s lineup, depending on who you talk to.

Armed with top designers and a solid industrial partnership with an established automaker, Xiaomi’s prospects for actually building real cars appear good. Whether the production models genuinely outperform cars from established automakers, or can measure up in fit and finish, is another thing entirely. Xiaomi will have a learning curve to climb, but looks to be starting from a solid footing.

Interestingly, it appears the company may have taken some inspiration from Tesla’s casting methods, too. A Facebook post boasts about the company’s “Hypercasting” method, key to saving weight and reducing the number of welded joints required in a vehicle. Overall, the idea seems largely similar to Tesla’s Gigacasting concept, where a large body part or subframe is effectively cast as a single piece.

As you might expect from a smartphone manufacturer, technology is a key focus of the SU7. The car will run Xiaomi’s Hyper OS and features a 16.1-inch infotainment screen boasting sharp 3K resolution. The car will also include optional tablets that attach to magnetic mounts on the front headrests to serve the rear passengers. Autonomous driving assists will apparently be offered later, complete with LIDAR sensors to better detect objects in the car’s field of view. The system’s sensors are specifically designed to work in difficult conditions, something the Chinese company is keenly aware of from Beijing’s snowy and rainy climate.

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Notably, though, it’s not all touchscreens and such; the SU7 specifically includes physical controls for certain features, such as the climate control. An optional pad of extra buttons can also be had, which mounts beneath the main infotainment display.

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Overall, it’s an interesting move from the smartphone company. Xiaomi is coming out of the blocks with an attractive performance EV that combines an appealing design and solid (claimed) performance. It’s not a world-beater, but the specs suggest it will be able to mix it up with the highly capable EVs from Tesla and Porsche. That could win it some fans in China, and even open up potential export markets one day. But at the same time, a high-end luxury sports EV is never going to be an outright volume seller.

Whether Xiaomi can capture hearts and minds will be seen when the SU7 hits Chinese streets in earnest. Hopefully, we’ll even get some real-world comparisons between China’s best and the incumbents from Germany and America. Let’s just wait for those first production models to roll out sometime in the New Year.

Image credits: Xiaomi

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Ron888
Ron888
3 months ago

Honestly? Meh.
It’s the correct playbook to enter the market but it holds no interest for me anymore.I just want to see decent budget models

Space
Space
3 months ago

Another premium tech laden EV, another company getting into the EV market. Same old story. Nothing against you Mr. Day, it would be nice if manufacturers switched things up. Maybe a toecutter EV that runs on lemons and pennies and gets 14km/lemon.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
3 months ago
Reply to  Space

What kind of lemon? Meyers can get pretty big.

Gee See
Gee See
3 months ago

Of course only the nicest lemons from the Springfield Lemon Tree… or maybe use Shelbyville’s turnips as alternate fuel.

Ron888
Ron888
3 months ago
Reply to  Space

Ouch.It took me a few minutes to realize that’s a battery.I’m getting slow!

Jeff Marquardt
Jeff Marquardt
3 months ago

Here in China it has already made quite a splash. All of my car focused wechat groups have been discussing it, and making memes too. Knowing what Chinese manufactures are capiable if I believe that they are going to do well being a well know brand to begin with and having the support and connections.

Most of the track day events I attend in Beijing don’t allow electric cars to compete, and the roads are so blocked that I average 30km/h on the highways, I’m surprised that they put so much effort into the performance aspect.

Finally, I am eagerly anticipating their advertisement. A few weeks ago I was an actor in an ad that was definitely for Xiaomi (because we performed an orchestrated Xiaomi jingle from 10 hours straight, the. A few days ago I received ab updated contract stating Xiaomi as the client).

On set the producer couldn’t tell me for sure what or who the ad was for but there were some car seats on set so most of came to the conclusion that were were filming a car ad. At that time I didn’t know that Xiaomi was making a car, let alone that it would be announced 2 weeks after filming.

Ron888
Ron888
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Marquardt

Interesting.It’s great to hear from someone in china.The autopian publishes chinese stories occasionally but i’d like to read more.Can you recommend any Chinese websites(in english)?

Jeff Marquardt
Jeff Marquardt
3 months ago
Reply to  Ron888

Thanks for the reply. You may have seen Tycho De Feijter’s articles. He runs a site called carnewschina.com. That’s the only English sight I read. Most Chinese media is app or mini-app based now. And even when I stumble across a Chinese article I can’t quite understand the translation software is all really good now.

Leonardo Bacigalupe
Leonardo Bacigalupe
3 months ago

I like it, if it does deliver at least anything close to what they promise for a somewhat sensible price I reckon they mighy get some sales in china and abroad, definitely not in the states though, if the hate I read here is anything to go by lol

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
3 months ago

Chinese crap that reports all your data to the Chinese dictatorship that steals all your data. Why are there so many stupid people?

Thomas The Tank Engine
Thomas The Tank Engine
3 months ago

Front : McLaren 720S
Mid : Porsche Taycan
Rear : Hyundai Ioniq 6

And look at that frunk!

Last edited 3 months ago by Thomas The Tank Engine
BOSdriver
BOSdriver
3 months ago

Would really like to see a few more real US competitors pop up. We have a few with Lucid, Rivian, Tesla, etc. For every three of them, there are tens of manufacturers in China trying to make it work. All they need are a few strong ones to survive and possibly become the next big brand for the next few decades. I would rather that the next big worldwide auto mfg be a US brand, maybe Tesla is that brand, assuming they can pivot fast enough and move on to the next generation successfully.
I would love to say that the Chinese folks have an advantage with subsidized land, cheap or subsidized labor and access to raw materials but the US still does a lot of similar things (local and state tax breaks to build factories, federal money available to new tech, not so much on the cheap labor though) to help new tech get off the ground and we still are not competing at that same level. Not discounting the hard work the US companies have put in, seems like the Chinese are still more eager to win in the long run and with the volume they are putting out, something will eventually stick and go global.

Last edited 3 months ago by BOSdriver
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
3 months ago
Reply to  BOSdriver

Bad business idea. The most successful is the one with the least companion. The multitude of Chinese crap allows China to screw over a majority of people buying their junk.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
3 months ago

Any word on when we will be able buy a Hello Kitty themed car case for this at the mall?

Also, why does it have both side vents and and air outlets in the front fenders?

TXJeepGuy
TXJeepGuy
3 months ago

How derivative

Ron888
Ron888
3 months ago
Reply to  TXJeepGuy

Definitely. Still,they’ve at least copied good parts and not ended up with something horrific so i’ll count that as a win

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
3 months ago
Reply to  TXJeepGuy

Yeah, I’m so sick of sedans with four wheels and four doors.

The market is pretty mature, and good aerodynamics are so restrictive that anything good is going to be either derivative or weird.

I’ll take a well-executed derivative over something weird most days of the week.

Thursdays, I’m down for weird.

Jb996
Jb996
3 months ago

BTW, I’m going to build an EV (in my garage).
I plan to start producing 100k cars per year, next year.
It will look EXACTLY like a Porsche Taycan (because I blatantly ripped off the styling), but it will go 200mph, and get 1000 miles on a charge, and go 0-60 in 1 second.

I’ve never built a car before, but I am working on some really nice 3D renders right now.
Do I get a media attention and free advertising yet?

EDIT: I’ll be using the jb996 Vehicle Test Cycle (jVTC), which typically results in 15% better numbers than any other realistic and informative test cycle. I do this so that my numbers are artificially inflated, so that I can confuse consumers who shouldn’t have to, but who definitely won’t, read the details. I will just be able to claim higher numbers!

Last edited 3 months ago by Jb996
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
3 months ago
Reply to  Jb996

Where do I send my $50,000 deposit?

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
3 months ago
Reply to  Jb996

I’m excited. I’ve been feeling a little down recently thinking there are not enough companies getting into this business.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
3 months ago

It apparently takes a smartphone maker to figure out that physical buttons are good for common things? It’s like the outsider in the Stanford Prison Experiment coming in and yelling “What are you all thinking?!?” to snap folks back to reality. Sub Tesla as the experimenter and the legacy OEM’s as the prisoners.

Seems interesting. We’ll never see it.

Lokki
Lokki
3 months ago

“A Chinese Smartphone Manufacturer Wants To Build A Better EV Sports Sedan Than Tesla And Porsche
A lot of people in Hell want a glass of ice water too.

Building EV’s is not easy. Ask GM and Ford.

However, even if the cars don’t work very well, there’s still plenty of sweet, sweet subsidy money for Chinese EV manufacturers.

China’s generosity to the electric vehicle sector when it comes to handing out subsidies has come under fresh scrutiny since the European commission announced an investigation into the matter. An analysis of listed companies shows that substantial amounts of government money are indeed flowing to the strategically important industry.
Among more than 5,000 mainland Chinese listed companies, five of the top 10 recipients of government grants during the first half of this year were local manufacturers of EVs or the batteries that power them, according to data compiled by Chinese information provider Wind and a survey by Nikkei Asia.”

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Electric-cars-in-China/China-gives-EV-sector-billions-of-yuan-in-subsidies

Then there are also plenty of subsidies for buyers too:

On June 21, 2023, China announced a substantial tax incentive package amounting to 520 billion yuan (US$72.3 billion) over a span of four years. This package is specifically designed to provide tax breaks for electric vehicles (EVs) and other environmentally friendly vehicles. It represents the largest tax incentive ever offered by China to the automotive industry, reflecting the government’s efforts to stimulate growth in the face of sluggish auto sales. 

So, in China, it’s smart to expand into the EV market –

Many companies have done exactly that on the back of the subsidy programs …

A subsidy-fueled boom helped build China into an electric-car giant but left weed-infested lots across the nation brimming with unwanted battery-powered vehicles.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2023-china-ev-graveyards/

BunkyTheMelon
BunkyTheMelon
3 months ago

And in the great Chinese car design tradition of just aping designs from elsewhere, it looks like a McLaren had a baby with a Taycan and a Stinger.

Are they incapable of original designs or is this intentional?

Jb996
Jb996
3 months ago
Reply to  BunkyTheMelon

It’s both.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
3 months ago

I can’t wait to see these shipped out on China’s upcoming nuclear (thorium molten salt) powered container ships:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/china-has-revealed-the-worlds-largest-nuclear-powered-container-ship/ar-AA1m64D7

Ships like this are a big step to cutting GHGs.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
3 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

This may be a hawt take but based on everything I’ve read I am currently concluding that:

1). Nuclear power good

2). The propaganda machine against it bad

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
3 months ago

Pretty much. Even the absolute worst cases of nuclear mishaps at sea – the losses of nuclear powered and nuclear armed ships, 30 years of illegal dumping of high level nuclear waste by the Soviets – have been non issues:

https://www.rferl.org/a/komsomolets-wreck-site-reveals-high-radiation-levels-30-years-after-soviet-sub-sinks/30049952.html

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg13818690-500-russia-owns-up-to-sea-burial-for-nuclear-waste/

Its worth noting that a lot of that Soviet waste has been in the Sea of Japan for over 30 years now yet Tokyo remains unravaged by Godzilla.

Toecutter
Toecutter
3 months ago

Depends on what type of nuclear reactor. The reactors built in the mid-late 20th century were made to use leftover material from building nuclear bombs. The intended purpose of the technology was never to provide cheap power, but to use cheap power as a cover story/justification for building enough WMDs to kill the entire world at taxpayer expense. The old reactor technology required extensive bureaucracy to operate and maintain and was inherently dangerous, not to mention horrifically expensive.

There’s been massive advancements in nuclear power since. I’m fond of the concept of the integral fast reactor, and also of small-scale thorium reactors. I think people should be allowed to experiment with small DIY thorium reactors without fear of imprisonment.

Last edited 3 months ago by Toecutter
TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Yes!
The Boy Scouts should institute a Nuclear badge!

yes: that’s a David Hahn reference because I love the story

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
3 months ago

I like the styling. It’s kind of a Frankenstein mishmash of Porsche, McLaren, and Tesla but somehow it works…and coming from maybe the only market that’s more obsessed with conspicuous consumption than we are in the States that’s no small feat. The numbers look fine on paper too.

I’m a little numb to EV acceleration figures at this point since seemingly all of them can hit 60 at ludicrous speed but this looks competitive. But alas…it’ll almost certainly never be sold here and even if it was I’m not sending my money to Winnie The Pooh and his cronies.

I’ll definitely be intrigued by an EV sports sedan my next go around but the prices remain pretty eye watering. At $60,000+ I’d be hard pressed to pick an EV over the ICE options that exist…I mean that’s RS3, secondhand M3, Integra Type S, CT4V BW, IS500, kitted to the moon Poo Pack Charger, etc. money. That being said I’m sure some more interesting stuff will come out.

Chris D
Chris D
3 months ago

Having SAIC build it doesn’t make Xiaomi a car builder, but a designer and marketer.
Avoiding the expense and trouble – and delays – of building their own factories, hiring and training the workers/robots, and so on, does give them a giant step forward both financially and in terms of actually getting their product to market.
Now if the front doors could just line up with the front fenders…

TDI in PNW
TDI in PNW
3 months ago

I have a couple of their phones that we used previously. They are premium feeling for really fair prices. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made this car well and it’s popular.

Beater_civic
Beater_civic
3 months ago

I don’t like being a curmudgeon but this site can really present news and announcements from China with a lot of credulity.

On the optimistic side a smartphone company might be able to figure out a better interior and dash layout than a lot of legacy manufacturers who just want MOAR SCRENE! Not being a phone connoisseur, I have no idea how their phones stack up.

But if cars are going to be bolted together onto extensively reused frames using commoditized components anyway, who knows? Surely these guys can buy as good an electric motor as someone else.

PL71 Enthusiast
PL71 Enthusiast
3 months ago
Reply to  Beater_civic

The China articles seem very high in number. Imo we shouldn’t be giving them the attention.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
3 months ago

Journalists go where the story is. Currently, that’s China.

PL71 Enthusiast
PL71 Enthusiast
3 months ago
Reply to  MATTinMKE

Fair point. And I suppose this website tries to avoid politics. Though I think the plague on humanity that the CCP is transcends politics.

Jb996
Jb996
3 months ago
Reply to  Beater_civic

They do seem to readily drink the kool-aid alot.

Could Xiaomi do these things? Maybe. Sure. In time.

Last edited 3 months ago by Jb996
TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago
Reply to  Beater_civic

They’re building cars like crazy, and it is definitely news. Tycho’s recent article really pointed up the difference in what is available since his last one about a year ago. We should not ignore what China is doing in any way because the United States is squarely in their sights.

Not saying they plan to demolish us, but they are working consistently toward usurping our position. Just my layman’s opinion from what I read.

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