BEIJING, November 15 (TMTPost)— Xiaomi Corporation is surrounded by talks about its highly-anticipated electric vehicle (EV) unit.
Chinese financial and economic daily newspaper National Business Daily learned Xiaomi’s auto facility has produced several dozens of vehicles in pilot production, and mass production will start by the end of the year, paving the way for the launch of its first model in February, 2024.
Xiaomi has applied for approval of making two EV models under its brand, according to the 377 batch of the Public Notice on Road Motor Vehicle Production Enterprises and Products released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). The announcement marks Chinese authorities allowed Xiaomi to begin full-scale production. It showed Xiaomi’s EV models will be adopted two different types of batteries: one is the lithium iron phosphate battery made by BYD’s subsidiary Fudi Battery Co., Ltd, and another is the ternary lithium battery offered by Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL). Xiaomi’s vehicles will be made in its own facility and the production qualification was provided by Beijing Automotive Group Off-road Vehicle Co.,Ltd., a unit of Chinese state-owned auto manufacturer Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. Ltd. (BAIC Group).
The news came after Haima Automobile Group Co., Ltd denied talks about production partnership. Haima does not have any related news about making EVs for Xiaomi to announce, the relevant person in charge at the company told the state-run newspaper Shanghai Securities News earlier this week. Haima also responded earlier this week that it always keeps door open to cooperation and is actively working to win and carry out external partnership. The Shenzhen-based manufacturer added that it will fulfill the disclosure obligation if there is any related partnership.
Haima is the second automaker that was said to be a partner of Xiaomi this month. Shanghai-listed shares of BAIC BJEV used to rose by 10% limit intraday on November 8 after the EV maker’s parent BAIC Group was said to join in a close-door meeting with Xiaomi. The meeting was said to only open to core customers invited by Xiaomi and be involved with Xiaomi’s suppliers in the smartphone and automobile industry. BAIC BJEV and BAIC Group’s officials later that day responded they don’t have any relevant official announcement at the moment.
Xiaomi announced in March, 2021 to set up a wholly owned subsidiary to make EVs, with the initial investment of RMB10 billion and the total input in the coming decade expected amount to US$10 billion. Xiaomi aims to become one of the top five automakers in the world within the coming 15 to 20 years, Lei Jun said in an interview in March.
Reports earlier this year signaled Xiaomi’s auto unit is entering final countdown of mass production after more than two years’ investment and preparation.
Xiaomi’s EV venture has obtained approval from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner that regulates production capacity and investments in auto industry, to produce EVs, Reuters reported in September.
Chinese digital news media outlet Jiemian later that month reported Xiaomi’s unit has started pilot production for less than a month in its factory in Yizhuang, a town in the southeast suburbs of Beijing, and there are about 50 vehicles to be built per week for test. The Yizhuang facility, built in two phases, is set to have a total annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles, with 150,000 units of each phase, and construction of its first phase has completed and passed acceptance testing in June, according to reports earlier this year.
Xiaomi is expected to debut its car in 2024, with estimated shipments of 500,000 to 600,000 units, according to a note that TF International Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo issued in October. The analyst, who is well known as a reliable source of Apple products, said Xiaomi’s first EV model will have key selling points including autonomous driving, software ecosystem, 800V fast charging, and power train specifications, with an estimated price below RMB300,000. If the price approaches or falls below 250k yuan, shipment estimates could be revised upward, Kuo added.
Lei Jun revealed at social media late October that Xiaomi plans to launch its car in the first half of next year, without giving any details. In the meantime, Xiaomi announced to roll out new operating system HyperOS as it upgraded its strategic vision to a comprehensive “Human x Car x Home” smart ecosystem.