Tech

Xiaomi Revs Up: Unveiling the SU7 and Beyond, But Can They Conquer the Crowded EV Market?

1,000 days after announcing the production of cars, Lei Jun, founder, chairman and CEO of Xiaomi Group, finally made its first public appearance.

On December 28, Xiaomi Automobile Technology Conference was unveiled at the National Convention Center in Beijing. In order to welcome this afternoon event, Lei Jun was so excited that he woke up early in the morning and started interacting with netizens on Weibo at around 6 o’clock.

This press conference can be said to be Xiaomi’s most high-profile event in recent times. In the previous week, Xiaomi officials had been intensively building momentum, and Lei Jun himself frequently posted on Weibo to share his thoughts on Xiaomi cars. He not only informed netizens that the name of Xiaomi’s first car, SU7, is “Su Qi”, he also said that SU7 hopes to be comparable to the Porsche Taycan Turbo in terms of mechanical qualities such as driving, and in terms of intelligence, he hopes to be comparable to the Tesla Model S. At the same time, it has the most leading technology and the richest ecology.

The day before the press conference, Lei Jun paid tribute to BYD, NIO, Xpeng, Ideal, Huawei and CATL on Weibo. That night, many netizens in Beijing saw Xiaomi Motors displaying tribute slogans on multiple outdoor billboards on the streets. This “pattern-opening” marketing initiative instantly attracted great attention across the entire network.

At noon on December 28, two hours before the official opening of the press conference, Xiaomi Motors officially released a wave of official photos of Xiaomi SU7, pushing this round of momentum to its highest peak.

With such a big battle, many people in the industry exclaimed, “Xiaomi Motors may not start with 500,000 yuan.” The market is also curious about what Lei Jun can give everyone at this “simple press conference” that only talks about technology and not about price. What surprises are there? In the Red Sea market where new energy vehicles are fiercely competitive and price wars are fierce, can Xiaomi Auto still get a share of the pie?

This is the second time Xiaomi has held a press conference at the National Convention Center in Beijing this year. In August this year, Lei Jun’s fourth annual speech was held here. But in that speech, Lei Jun did not reveal the new progress of Xiaomi Auto, but left all the suspense to the press conference at the end of the year.

Choosing to hold the press conference at the National Convention Center shows how much Xiaomi attaches importance to this press conference. In the past, Xiaomi’s new product launch conferences were usually held in the Xiaomi Technology Park, and the scale was relatively small. Even the Xiaomi Mi 14 series launch conference, which Lei Jun expected to be a hit, was held in the park.

In order to successfully enter the automotive industry, Lei Jun paid high-profile tributes to BYD, “Wei Xiaoli” and Huawei. This move not only attracted him traffic, but also caused some controversy in the industry. Everyone is wondering why Xiaomi only chose to pay tribute to the above-mentioned five manufacturers and not other mainstream car manufacturers? Even for this reason, on the 28th, Meizu CEO’s attack on Xiaomi Motors was even on the Weibo hot search list.

At two o’clock in the afternoon on December 28, at the beginning of the press conference, Lei Jun took the lead in explaining: “Actually, everyone has really misunderstood. I have always been in awe of the entire automobile industry.” Xiaomi paid tribute not only to the above five manufacturers, but also to The pioneer of all new energy vehicles. He said that after he officially decided to build a car, he immediately visited the domestic mainstream car brands one by one and expressed his respect in person.

However, compared to the early marketing campaign, the public is actually more concerned about Xiaomi Auto’s “hard power”.

Judging from the declaration information, posters and “leaked” information disclosed in the past period, Xiaomi SU7 does not have many secrets at all. Although mobile phone manufacturers have always been full of controversies in building cars, the consensus in the industry is that smart cars will definitely compete fiercely around smart cockpits, autonomous driving and the big ecosystem in the future.

So this time, all parties will focus on Xiaomi’s “People and Cars” ecosystem and interconnection functions. At the press conference, Lei Jun did release several big moves.

He said that at the end of 2022, Xiaomi Motors developed the Xiaomi Super Motor V6, which was the fastest in the world at the time, with a maximum speed of 21,000 rpm, surpassing Tesla. Unexpectedly, it was intercepted by a friend. Huawei had previously released a 22,000-rpm motor.
So this time, Lei Jun brought a self-developed and self-produced super motor V8s with a maximum speed of 27,200 rpm, saying that this is the peak performance of global motors and will be available in cars in 2025. That’s not all. Lei Jun also revealed the laser rotor winding technology that Xiaomi is currently developing, which can achieve the motor’s maximum speed of 35,000 rpm.

In addition, Lei Jun also demonstrated Xiaomi’s 9,100-ton super die-casting on site, saying that this technology surpassed Tesla’s. In terms of smart cockpit, Xiaomi’s car is equipped with the Snapdragon 8295 cockpit chip, and Xiaomi’s self-developed ThePaper OS is also available in the car for the first time. All five core technical features are implemented in the car.

In order to provide Apple users with a good experience, Xiaomi Auto also supports CarPlay, AirPlay and iPad in the car. The release of many hard-core technologies has made many rice fans exclaim: “It tastes like the first generation of Xiaomi.”

In the opinion of industry insiders, Xiaomi has made a little effort in intelligent driving. The SU7 display car on site was also “unmanned” on its own. Currently, technologies such as zoom BEV, large road models, and super-resolution occupied networks have been announced, using two NVIDIA DRIVE Orin chips, with a total computing power of 508 TOPS.

The popular cross-floor valet parking and automatic parking in three-dimensional mechanical garages can be realized. Lei Jun made a bold statement to “enter the first camp in the industry by 2024.”
In the second half of the press conference, Lei Jun brought two models of Xiaomi Motors, SU7 and SU7 Max. There were indeed many references to Porsche. Many users exclaimed that this was the first “Porsche” for young people.

After the press conference, Xiaomi Motors arranged an experience session. Many media and “mi fans” lined up on the first floor of the National Convention Center, waiting to see the true appearance. But from the end of the press conference at five o’clock until nearly six o’clock, there were still many queued users who failed to enter the experience room.

Pricing remains key

Before the press conference, Xiaomi employees refused to talk about any news related to cars.
Since several recent major leaks, Xiaomi’s internal control has been particularly strict. Even the mention of the word “car” makes employees very nervous. “Everyone is rushing to make progress internally, and they are all afraid of leaking secrets. Many people have been taken away for investigation. Everyone is very careful now.”

Now that the press conference is over, the employees are finally relieved. “The amount of information released is still quite large. It depends on the reaction of all parties.”
A source told “City Circle” that many internal leakers had been held accountable, and employees were afraid to speak out. He only knew that Xiaomi had been working a lot of overtime recently.
In fact, this kind of work intensity has been going on within Xiaomi for a long time, and Lei Jun has been personally leading the team. In January this year, a car blogger revealed that Xiaomi Motors was undergoing winter testing. Before this press conference, it was also reported that Xiaomi Motors was conducting its second winter test.

Lei Jun’s intention to join the car-making army has actually been known for a long time. As one of the first Tesla owners in China, he is also an investor in Xpeng Motors and NIO. After Xiaomi Group went public in 2018, Lei Jun personally visited these two companies in July and November of that year, and he was making silent calculations in his mind. How likely is it for Xiaomi to build a car?
After going through 85 industry visits and communications, in-depth exchanges with more than 200 automotive industry veterans, 4 internal management discussions, and 2 formal board meetings, Lei Jun officially made the decision to enter the smart electric vehicle market. .

However, looking at the Chinese auto market over the years, in 1986 when Geely built a car, in 2003 when BYD built a car, in 2015 when “Wei Xiaoli” built a car, and in 2019 when Huawei established a car BU, Lei Jun did not announce the build of a car. The 2021 “Vol.”

At that time, Lei Jun regarded car building as his last entrepreneurial venture in life, and said that he would risk all the reputation he had accumulated in his life to fight for Xiaomi Motors.
“I am very aware of the risks. It often costs tens of billions to invest in building a car, and it usually takes three to five years to see results. But Xiaomi now has money and can afford to lose money. It would be a shame to support Mi Fans if they don’t fight.” In the 2021 Xiaomi spring new product release At the meeting, Lei Jun felt a little resigned to death.

Two days after the official announcement of building a car, on April 2, 2021, a photo of Lei Jun with Li Bin, Li Xiang, He Xiaopeng, and Wang Chuanfu began to be widely circulated in the Internet circle. According to rumors, Lei Jun had a long meeting with Wang Chuanfu at the Xiaomi Technology Park in Beijing. In addition, according to the photo nameplate, those participating in this opportunity include Meituan founder Wang Xing, Sequoia Capital partner Shen Nanpeng, etc.

After a round of research, “academic master” Lei Jun is more certain that Xiaomi has many natural advantages in building cars. “Because the essence of today’s smart electric vehicles is the integration of the automobile industry and the consumer electronics industry. It is a big integration.” He said in an interview with CCTV not long ago.

“To give a metaphor that is not particularly appropriate, the chairman of a car company told me that a smart electric car is actually a large mobile phone with four wheels. This statement is of course not accurate, but it illustrates the two industries. It is highly integrated, so entering the automotive industry is challenging for us, but the overall difficulty is controllable,” Lei Jun said.

This metaphor is very vivid, and it also reminds people of the famous saying of Li Shufu, chairman of Geely Holding Group: “What’s so great about making a car? Isn’t it just four wheels, a few sofas, and an iron shell?”

But at the end of the day, building a car is not an easy task. Li Shufu has endured hardship, and Lei Jun must also be cautious.

Some industry veterans said that apart from the “full ecology of people, cars and families”, the hardware configuration strategies of Xiaomi SU7 and other Chinese electric vehicle brands are basically similar. It is now difficult to differentiate the hardware because of the basic cost issue.

Therefore, for Xiaomi, compared to technology, pricing is now the most critical.
Before the press conference, Lei Jun revealed that it was “really a bit expensive.” This time at the scene, he also responded to the audience with a smile: “99,000 is absolutely impossible” and “149,000 is no need to talk about it anymore.”

In fact, Lei Jun spent 10 billion yuan to build the car in the first phase, and before the meeting, including Magna, BorgWarner, Nexteer, Brembo, ZF, ACC, Dirac, Michelin, Bridgestone, France Many top international and domestic suppliers, including Leo, CATL, AutoNavi, Kugou, etc., have sent blessings to Lei Jun to support him. It can be blindly guessed that the cost of this car must be quite high.

“Xiaomi doesn’t seem to care about cost-effectiveness this time, but the car is better than others.” Some industry media speculated that these suppliers are not just enjoying the excitement, there should be some companies involved in Xiaomi’s car-making process.

At the press conference, Lei Jun indirectly revealed that high-end models may cost 400,000 yuan. Because one of its batteries accounts for 50% of the cost of the entire vehicle, and usually, a 100-degree battery costs at least more than 100,000 yuan.
Is it a lot of pressure to sell Xiaomi cars for 400,000 yuan?

You know, the current new energy market is really complicated, and none of Xiaomi SU7’s competing products are good.

The Chery Xingtu Xingxing Era ES, which was just launched last week, has many similarities with Xiaomi SU7. They are both medium and large pure electric cars, and their sizes are also very similar. Moreover, the low-end models also use a 400V platform, and the high-end models use an 800V high-voltage platform. Single-motor and dual-motor versions are available. The suspension forms are double wishbones in the front and multi-links in the rear.

The entry-level model of Star Era ES is 400V+single motor+60.7kW battery, priced at 225,800 yuan. The mid-range model with 800V + single motor + 79.9-degree battery is priced at 269,800 yuan. The entire series comes standard with air suspension + CDC electromagnetic vibration reduction system.
In addition, its brother model, the Zhijie S7, which is operated by Huawei, is an 800V high-voltage platform with a starting price of 249,800 yuan. These two cars are direct competitors to Xiaomi SU7, and their prices are very meaningful.

And just when Xiaomi was busy paying tribute to BYD, NIO, Xpeng, Ideal, Huawei and other brands on December 27, Geely’s high-end new energy vehicle brand Ji Krypton directly turned over the table next door.

It has released a new model, Ji Krypton 007, which uses an 800V high-voltage platform and comes standard with an 8295 automotive chip and an NVIDIA DRIVE Orin intelligent driving chip with 254 TOPS computing power. The single-motor entry-level model with a range of 688km and 0 to 0-60 seconds is priced at only 209,900 yuan. The dual-motor model with a range of 616km, 0 to 100 seconds in 3.8 seconds, and equipped with variable suspension costs as little as 229,900 yuan.

Although Jikrypton 007 is a mid-level car and is smaller than Xiaomi SU7 in terms of body size, its hardware and software configuration and price are equivalent to putting a “shackle” on Xiaomi. Many netizens and industry media believe that Ji Krypton’s pricing will have a huge impact on all competing models, including Xiaomi Motors.

“Jikrypton’s pricing makes it difficult to make subsequent cars. The direct target is Xiaomi Motors. Although the size is slightly smaller, it will definitely be compared in the end market.” Some netizens joked, “I finally understand why Xiaomi doesn’t pay tribute to Geely.”

In the past two days, netizens have called for Xiaomi cars to be priced at 199,000. However, many people in the industry feel that Xiaomi cars cannot be sold so cheaply and the pricing can be bolder. Because Xiaomi currently has advantages that others do not have. But if he wants to turn his advantages into sales success as soon as possible, Lei Jun still faces many challenges.

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