Chinese multinational electronics company Xiaomi plans to begin production of its first battery-electric vehicle in first-half 2024, according to its co-founder and CEO, Lei Jun.
Speaking at China’s annual parliamentary gathering in Beijing, Lei says: “Xiaomi’s car manufacturing has progressed beyond expectation and (prototypes) have recently successfully completed winter testing.”
Lei, a deputy of China’s National People’s Congress, also confirms Xiaomi has invested more than ¥3 billion ($432 million) in its BEV division, Xiaomi Automobile, since 2022. Staffing of its R&D department has risen to more than 2,300, he adds.
Xiaomi, the world’s No.3 smartphone manufacturer by sales volume behind Samsung and Apple in 2022, first announced plans to begin developing a range of BEV models in 2021.
At the time, Lei said Xiaomi intended to invest up to ¥10 billion ($2.88 billion) in Xiaomi Automobile over the following 10 years.
Its first production model, a Tesla Model 3-challenging sedan code-named MS11, was prematurely revealed in a series of photographs leaked to Chinese social media in January. It is expected to be unveiled this year prior to the start of 2024 production confirmed by Lei.
Chinese media reports suggest the MS11 will be positioned in the mid- to high-end price bracket and be offered in two distinct versions: a base model with a lithium-iron-phosphate battery sourced from BYD, and a more luxurious model with a sodium-ion battery from CATL.
The 4-door model is rumored to receive autonomous driving technology with lidar sensors from Shanghai-based Hesai Technology.
Following the leaking of the photographs of the MS11, Xiaomi announced it had imposed a ¥1 million ($144,000) penalty on a component supplier company.
The general manager of Xiaomi’s public relations department, Wang Hua, has said the leaked photographs depicted a design that was part of a bidding process and did not represent the final appearance of the company’s first BEV.
The 53-year-old Lei previously hinted Xiaomi is developing up to four models, including an SUV planned for launch in 2025.
Xiaomi Automobile is based in Beijing. Unlike rival Chinese smartphone company Huawei, which operates a Chinese-based joint venture with BEV start-up Seres under the name Aito, it plans to develop, manufacture and market its BEVs fully in-house.
Construction of a factory to build the first Xiaomi model started in Beijing in 2022 and is due to be completed later this year.