On September 29, a prominent user of Chinese leading investor community Snowball Finance posted that Xiaomi‘s first engineering prototype car had been completed on September 28. The blogger said that the next important step for Xiaomi Auto will be the completion of its automobile factory by the end of the year. However, this news has yet to be confirmed by Xiaomi.
For a long time, Xiaomi‘s vehicle manufacturing business has attracted a lot of attention. In March last year, the consumer tech firm announced that it would join vehicle manufacturers with an initial investment of 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion at that time), and it also plans to spend $10 billion in the following 10 years to compete in this business.
In his annual speech in August this year, Lei Jun, the founder and CEO of Xiaomi, revealed that Xiaomi will use the company’s full stack, self-developed algorithm to support its autonomous driving research. The year 2024 will be the first production time point of Xiaomi Auto.
Today, Xiaomi has invested more than 3.3 billion yuan in the automotive field and now has a team of more than 1,000 people. In addition, it has already spent more than 2 billion yuan to acquire or invest in upstream and downstream enterprises in the auto industry and plans to build its own factory in Beijing for an auto production line with a 300,000-unit production capacity.
According to Lei Jun, Xiaomi‘s automatic driving technology has entered the testing stage. In the first phase, 140 test vehicles are planned and will be tested nationwide. According to pictures that have surfaced online, apart from the BMW 5 series, the carrier of Xiaomi‘s self-driving test system also includes the BYD Han model. Further, Xiaomi is likely to name its intelligent driving system “Xiaomi Pilot” and, at present, has about 144 test vehicles conducting road tests in China.
Earlier, several Chinese media outlets, including LatePost Auto, had reported that Xiaomi‘s first electric car would be a sedan, with a price of more than 300,000 yuan. Xiaomi‘s first car is planned to have both high-end and affordable configuration options. The affordable model will adopt a 400V platform while the high-end version will use an 800V platform while employing BYD’s blade battery and CATL’s Kirin battery. The supplier of lidars for Xiaomi’s car has been identified as Hesai Technology.
In mid-September, Lei Jun revealed some matters related to the company’s vehicle manufacturing business in an interview program. Lei said that if a company wants to be a great one, it must follow the trend. At this moment, the trend is on intelligent electric vehicles. They have become a fusion of the automotive industry and consumer electronics, and companies will fall behind if they do not keep up. “Therefore, Xiaomi‘s involvement in car-building is a forced choice.”