Xiaomi might be working on an electric car project
While Apple wrangles unsuccessfully with auto manufacturers over its ridiculous branding rules, Xiaomi might beat it to the electric car race. The Chinese electronics conglomerate's smart mobility strategy involves tying up with a local auto maker called Great Wall Motor. Xiaomi is currently in talks with the Chinese auto company to strike a deal allowing it to use its plants to manufacture electric cars.
Company will aim its EV at the mass market
Just like its smartphone products, Xiaomi's yet unnamed electric car will be targeted at the masses. This strategy could allow it to undercut the likes of Tesla in China, provided it manages to strike the same balance between value and performance evident in its mobile offerings. Although the partnership hasn't been formally acknowledged, the companies are expected to make an announcement next week.
Xiaomi tying up with Great Wall for electric car project
The Chinese auto maker Great Wall Motor Company Limited is primarily an SUV manufacturer, which also undertakes design, research, development, manufacture, and sale of sedans and pick-up trucks. It sells vehicles under three brands: Great Wall, Haval, and Wey. Xiaomi's decision to partner with Great Wall makes sense since the latter is also building an electric vehicle factory in China with BMW.
Great Wall will provide expertise to speed up design process
Great Wall will reportedly offer engineering consultancy, in addition to its manufacturing facilities, to Xiaomi in order to speed up the electric vehicle project. Meanwhile, Xiaomi's expertise with connected technology and the semiconductor side of smart cars will shape the product into a viable competitor to the likes of Tesla. However, it is not known if Xiaomi's car will incorporate self-driving features.
It is unclear if Xiaomi will offer self-driving capability
The positioning of Xiaomi's EV is difficult until we can confirm the presence or absence of self-driving features. Tesla sits at the top of the electric vehicle pecking order primarily due to its brilliant UI and smartphone integration, but also because it has compelling self-driving features. Xiaomi will have to match Tesla in both the aspects if it hopes to challenge it.
This isn't Xiaomi's first automotive rodeo
Interestingly, Xiaomi had launched an SUV dubbed the Pentium T77 back in 2019 as a crowdfunded project. The company has also been making progress in auto patents as far back as 2015, so this isn't a knee-jerk reaction. However, in February, Xiaomi had made a statement saying no EV projects were confirmed; it instead suggested to "wait and see".