Chinese Smartphone Company Previews First EV
Despite years of talk that Apple would eventually start building all-electric vehicles, China’s Xiaomi looks to have beaten the American brand to the punch by previewing the first production EV designed by an established consumer technology company. Though designed might be the wrong word to use as the front of the SU7 sedan appears to have been lifted off the McLaren 750 S while the back is pure Porsche Panamera.
Chinese automotive designs have been impressively derivative for ages, so pointing that out probably won’t change anything. But we haven’t seen anything so obviously influenced by another car design since the second-generation Ford Fusion (fourth-gen Mondeo) came out wearing a face that clearly possessed some Aston Martin DNA.
Copycating aside, the Xiaomi SU7 will be the company’s first all-electric vehicle and provides the brand with an opportunity to dunk on its peers. While Foxconn technically became the first phone manufacturer to pivot toward EVs after getting involved with Lordstown Motor, its relationship with the brand came to an abrupt end when it declared bankruptcy. Foxconn has been left with a factory based in Ohio and a lot of bad memories.
Meanwhile, it’s supposed to be full speed ahead over at Xiaomi. According to a release from the company shared by CarNewsChina, the brand has already applied for the government license required to sell the vehicle in China. That, along with details published by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has resulted in loads of leaked information.
We know that the car is supposed to be contract-manufactured by Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. Ltd (BAIC), which has more than enough experience to pull it off. Government data has also shown us that the vehicle will be dimensionally similar to the Tesla Model S, Porsche Taycan, and Lucid Air. The Xiaomi SU7 is said to be 197 inches long, 77 inches wide, and 57 inches tall.
However, the powertrain seems to be a step down from the model’s it will be targeting. The SU7 will reportedly be sold as a rear-wheel-drive model offering 295 horsepower or as an all-wheel-drive vehicle boasting approximately 660 horsepower. The top speed is estimated to be 164 miles per hour. Battery packs are supposed to be supplied by BYD and CATL. Smaller units will result in a 4,365-pound curb weight and the larger packs will end up at 4,861 pounds.
The sedan is supposed to utilize Xiaomi’s proprietary HyperOS as its user interface and that’s assumed to be a big draw for customers already familiar with the brand’s mobile devices. The car will have an integrated toll paying feature (think EZ Pass) and allegedly feature advanced smartphone integration.
It also looks to have exterior cameras attached to the b-pillars, side-quarter panels, and a large frontal sensor array mounted on the roof (LiDAR is said to be optional). Odds are good that the SU7 will offer advanced driving features and all kinds of camera-based safety systems. Several Chinese automakers have revealed plans to leverage facial recognition technology in lieu of car keys or paired devices. But we’ve also seen these companies working with government agencies to advance state surveillance efforts.
Production of the Xiaomi SU7 is supposed to commence next month at BAIC’s Beijing assembly plant with the limited “Founders Edition” likely coming first. It’s to be followed by the SU7, SU7 Pro, and SU7 Max — with the higher-trimmed options boasting an adaptive rear wing and fancier interiors.
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