Lei Jun, the founder and CEO of Chinese tech firm Xiaomi, on September 8 posted on Twitter: “Tesla entered the EV industry more than 10 years ahead of us. Some people think that we already missed our window to enter the market, but I disagree. The race is just getting started, and I think Xiaomi has plenty of opportunities.”
Xiaomi‘s auto manufacturing project seems to have been making more rapid progress this year. On March 22, the firm disclosed its 2021 fiscal year financial report, showing that its R&D team had exceeded 1,000 people, and that the first car model will be mass-produced in the first half of 2024. According to the firm’s second-quarter performance report, its innovative business expenses in the smart electric vehicle field was 611 million yuan ($88.3 million) during the period.
In July, Lei Jun published a video of a road test using Xiaomi‘s own automated driving technology for the first time, and said that his team had formulated the technical layout strategy of full-stack self-developed algorithms. He also disclosed that the firm’s automated driving technology has entered the testing stage, and that 140 test vehicles are planned in the first phase, which will be put into road tests across China.
On August 28, Lei Jun also posted a photo of himself and one of the firm’s automated driving test cars on Weibo, writing, “Has anyone seen our automated driving test car?”
In addition, a new book entitled “The Business Thoughts of Xiaomi Corp. (Chinese Edition),” which was dictated by Lei Jun himself and compiled by Xu Jieyun, was published on August 1. The book disclosed extensive information about Xiaomi‘s vehicle manufacturing business. Lei Jun said in the book that for Xiaomi, making cars is the general trend of its development and that there is no other choice. It is also one of the most important decisions in Xiaomi‘s history. He even called it “the last major entrepreneurial project in his life.”
Regarding the model and pricing of Xiaomi‘s first car, domestic media outlet LatePost Auto mentioned in a report that it will be a sedan, and that the price limit will exceed 300,000 yuan. Another Chinese media outlet Baobian reported that Xiaomi may not launch only one model when it unveils its cars, but it will likely launch a series of models in the price range of 200,000 to 300,000 yuan. When it finally unveils car models, Xiaomi needs products that can sell well to boost market confidence.
In addition, Baobian reported that some employees of Xiaomi said that the firm’s engineering prototype car had been basically completed and that it is currently in the software integration stage. It is expected that this process can be completed around mid-October this year, then it will enter the next test process.