In China's brutally competitive electric vehicle market where about 100 rivals are jostling for a share of the EV pie, a smartphone manufacturer's entry into the space is nothing short of bold.

Consumer electronics giant Xiaomi released its first electric car in China recently, and it has taken the market by storm. It's already sold out for 2024, garnering nearly 90,000 reservations in just 24 hours. Waiting times have reached seven months and the company added $4 billion to its market value overnight, surpassing Ford and General Motors.

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Chinese consumer electronics giants enter the EV space.

Apple famously spent a billion dollars a year for nearly ten years developing its EV, wanting to disrupt the market, but ultimately failed at it. On the other side of the planet, consumer electronics goliaths Xiaomi and Huawei have won people's hearts already by rolling out hyper-competitive EVs.

Before diving deep, here are some numbers. The SU7 starts at 215,900 yuan ($29,900). The SU7 Pro goes for 245,000 yuan ($33,990), whereas the SU7 Max costs 299,900 yuan ($41,500). A 101-kilowatt-hour, 800-volt battery powers the top Max variant. It churns 672 horsepower and delivers about 800 kilometers of CLTC range (about 370 miles EPA).

Unlike upstarts and legacy carmakers struggling with EVs on their first attempt, Xiaomi has knocked it out of the park, according to Telescope. The headlamps are reminiscent of the Mclaren 720S, but the overall proportions are traditional sedan-like. That's not a bad thing because low-slung, aerodynamic sedans typically excel in efficiency. The Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Ioniq 6 are great examples.

Xiaomi SU7 (2024): The exterior

Inside, things get sporty. The driving position and visibility have a mid-engined sports car feel, according to Telescope. The dashboard reveals itself with a rotation to greet the driver. Customizability is also impressive—the physical buttons under the infotainment are magnetic add-ons and there are factory-fitted mounts on the driver- and passenger-side dashboard and the center of the rearview mirror for Go Pros.

One of the highlights is the seamless integration with Xiaomi’s exhaustive range of smartphones, tablets and connected devices. This is part of the brand’s “Human x Car x Home” ecosystem, all connected via the new HyperOS platform.

The horizontal infotainment system allows owners to mirror their smartphones and they can also pin a particular app on the screen. Even though users can configure Xiaomi tablets for the rear passenger screens, the press cars seemed to use Apple iPads.

Xiaomi SU7

Xiaomi, like several other Chinese automakers including Li Auto, Great Wall Motors, and Zeekr, also uses Nvidia’s Orin Drive platform for computing power and ADAS functions.

That said, the reviewer mentions the highway cruise control wasn’t fine-tuned. Different drive modes also didn’t change the steering feel all that much. But overall, it’s hard to find faults in the SU7. The driveability is comparable to top automakers like Audi and there are no rookie mistakes in that department.

Much of the SU7’s design finesse can be attributed to the brand hiring BMW AG designer Tianyuan Li and getting consulting help from industry veteran Chris Bangle, as Bloomberg reported today.

Gallery: 2024 Xiaomi SU7

And unlike Apple, Xiaomi never planned to go solo on the engineering front, where it partnered with established carmaker Beijing Automotive Group Co (BAIC), a Chinese-state-owned company.

Even though the SU7 seems to have won people over with its Tesla-rivalling specs, it remains an unproven car. The coming weeks and months will reveal if buyers are willing to wait seven months for their EVs. They can simply pick the refreshed Model 3 or several other options in what is the most competitive EV market in the world.

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