According to Sina Tech news outlet, Lei Jun spends much of his time at Xiaomi Auto headquarters to ensure the project doesn’t get out of hand. The new auto startup is expected to produce a working prototype in time for the winter testing session. The newly-established Xiaomi Auto Co Ltd. has already hired a PR manager, and it’s getting ready to start a marketing campaign as soon as the prototype is revealed.
Xiaomi still aims for a 2024 production debut, and things appear to be on track. The Chinese tech company hired a team from HVST Automobile Design to fast-track its first EV development. While little known, the Shanghai engineering team is also behind another Chinese EV project, the Maven concept from Weltmeister Motor. We don’t know if they will reuse the design or make something new, but the Maven concept has impressive characteristics, like the 500 miles (800 km) range.
Xiaomi officially confirmed its automotive ambitions on March 30 last year, although rumors made headlines long before that. The Chinese IT giant pledged an immediate 10 billion RMB ($1.54 billion) to jump-start the car project, with a projected investment of $10 billion over the next 10 years. Last November, Xiaomi signed a contract with the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Area Management Committee to establish its headquarters in Yizhuang.
Xiaomi intends to build an assembly plant with an annual production capacity of 300,000 cars, with at least four models planned. According to CNEVPost.com, two of them will be city cars in the A+ and B segments of the market. All of them will support some degree of automated driving, with lower-end models aiming at L2+ and the more sophisticated at L3 autonomy.