Xiaomi challenges Tesla in China with Model 3 competitor

Credit: Xiaomi/X

In the smartphone world, Xiaomi is considered by some to be the “Apple of China” due to its devices’ features and overall quality. And with the launch of the Xiaomi SU7, it appears that the smartphone giant is also looking to achieve the title of “Tesla of China.” 

At a launch event in Beijing, Xiaomi formally launched its first vehicle, the SU7 all-electric sedan. Three variants of the SU7 are offered for now — the SU7 Standard, SU7 Pro, and SU7 Max. The vehicles are competitively priced, with the SU7 Standard starting at RMB 215,900 ($29,870), the SU7 Pro starting at RMB 245,900 ($34,000), and the SU7 Max starting at RMB 299,900 ($41,500).

For context, the upgraded Tesla Model 3 Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) starts at RMB 245,900 ($34,000) and the Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor All Wheel Drive (AWD) starts at RMB 285,900 ($39,500) in China. At such prices, the SU7 effectively undercuts the Model 3 by about $4,000 in price, with the midrange variant of Xiaomi’s all-electric car costing the same as Tesla’s entry-level Model 3

During the Xiaomi SU7’s launch event, Lei Jun, founder, chairman and CEO of the smartphone giant, noted that the all-electric sedan is targeting the same customers as the Tesla Model 3. “Many people ask me who the Xiaomi SU7 is built for. My answer is, ‘Isn’t it time for Tesla Model 3 users to upgrade?'” the executive noted. 

The Xiaomi SU7 was benchmarked against the Tesla Model 3, and it shows. As per the executive, the SU7 is better than the Model 3 on over 90% of its specifications. The Xiaomi SU7 is slightly larger than the Model 3, and its starting range of 700 kilometers (almost 435 miles) is higher than the base Model 3’s 606 kilometers. Lei admitted, however, that it would probably take Xiaomi 3-5 years to catch up to Tesla in terms of powertrain efficiency.  

The reception of Chinese consumers to the SU7 has been very positive so far. In the first 27 minutes after the company started accepting orders for the vehicle, Xiaomi was able to secure over 50,000 firm orders. Deliveries of the SU7’s “Founders Edition” are expected to begin on April 3, 2024. 

While the Xiaomi SU7 is undoubtedly an impressive all-electric sedan, it should be noted that Tesla is a very difficult target to catch because the company just refuses to stay still. This is hinted at by the Cybertruck, whose key innovations like its 48V architecture and steer-by-wire system will likely trickle down to the company’s later vehicles. With this in mind, Xiaomi may find itself competing against a company that’s determined to prove that the “Tesla of China” is still Tesla. 

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Xiaomi challenges Tesla in China with Model 3 competitor
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