Another Smartphone Maker is Jumping on EV Bandwagon

Published on December 28, 2023 in Electric by Guillaume Rivard

After Huawei and Foxconn (which builds Apple’s iPhone), another smartphone manufacturer is making a foray into the electric vehicle business.

China’s Xiaomi, which doesn’t have a presence in North America but ranks among the top three sellers in the world, recently unveiled its first vehicle, a sedan called SU7 (the two letters stand for “Speed Ultra”). It says it plans to sell the car in China within the next few months and then in other markets, without being more specific for now.

Riding on a new platform called Modena that was apparently developed in-house, the SU7 can accommodate various combinations of motors and batteries. The specs released by Xiaomi so far are pretty interesting, too.

Photo: Xiaomi

The lineup starts with a single-motor model producing 294 horsepower along with 295 lb-ft of torque and accelerating from 0-100 km/h in 5.3 seconds. At the other end is a dual-motor AWD variant with a combined 664 horsepower and 614 lb-ft of torque, good for 0-100 km/h sprints in just 2.8 seconds. The company admits to using the Porsche Taycan Turbo as a performance benchmark.

Range estimates are anywhere between 668-800 km with a fully charged battery, but keep in mind they’re based on the Chinese test cycle, which is even more optimistic than Europe’s WLTP. If the SU7 were sold in North America, we’d probably be talking about 350-450 km of range.

Styling is definitely more attractive than most typical Chinese products, mainly because the car was penned by a former BMW designer. There’s an obvious German and Italian influence in the exterior. Protruding from where the windshield and the roof meet is an enclosure for the cameras and radars used by the advanced safety and semi-autonomous driving systems.

Photo: Xiaomi

A single shot of the cabin was provided by Xiaomi, revealing a small digital instrument cluster backed by a head-up display, a sport steering wheel featuring two intriguing round buttons (likely for drive mode selection), as well as a giant centre touchscreen similar to those found in Teslas.

Another Chinese sedan, the BYD Seal, recently launched in Mexico as a direct threat to the Tesla Model 3. Time will tell whether the company expands up north and paves the way for other EVs from China.

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