Photos of what appears to be a Xiaomi engineering test vehicle recently surfaced online, giving EV enthusiasts a sneak peek of the Chinese tech giant’s first automobile. The images were shared by popular Xiaohongshu blogger, who claimed to have encountered Xiaomi’s “skeleton car” on the road.
While most Xiaomi test cars spotted so far have been heavily camouflaged, this vehicle’s exterior was mostly uncovered. The photos reveal a smooth, aerodynamic profile with a wide, low-slung stance, overall silhouette aligns with previous Xiaomi Electric Vehicles spy shots, featuring a sporty fastback shape.
Other details stand out as well, like the car’s futuristic taillights. Though still partially hidden under camo wraps, the full-width curved taillight assembly is visible. Based on the raised sections flanking the lights, Xiaomi seems to be going for a distinctive, high-tech design.
The leaked images also showcase the interior door panels’ styling and materials. Notably, the car appears to use traditional mechanical door handles located down in the lower storage area. Buttons replace the newer electric latches common in modern EVs.
The interior features upscale details including textured leather, wood accents, and “Xiaomi” badging on the door cards. Other visible design elements hint at a panoramic sunroof and frameless doors. Meanwhile, the rear floor uses an integrated casting technique for added structural rigidity.
While just a pre-production test vehicle, these first unobstructed views already exhibit Xiaomi’s ambition to make a splash in the EV space. The company is aiming to echo its smartphone success by delivering high-end features and technology at mass-market price points.
Xiaomi’s surging phone business now makes it the world’s top 3 smartphone brand, leveraging that growth, Xiaomi has aggressively expanded into a wide range of smart devices and appliances, automotive realm represents Xiaomi’s biggest foray yet beyond consumer electronics.
Backed by more than $10 billion in funding, Xiaomi founded a standalone electric car division in 2020. Since then, it has assembled a team of over 1,000 employees, including numerous executives and engineers hired away from established automakers.
Xiaomi’s president Lu Weibing stated at a recent industry 2023 Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit that the company plans to officially launch its first EV model in 2024. Prototypes have been testing on public roads across China over the past year.
With Chinese authorities strongly pushing electric vehicle adoption, Xiaomi aims to produce competitive, high-value EVs priced between $30,000-$50,000, leaked test car photos build credibility around Xiaomi’s car manufacturing capabilities as it gears up to enter this hyper-competitive market.
While taking on Detroit and Germany’s automotive giants as a newcomer won’t be easy, Xiaomi’s brand cache, technical expertise, and supply chain mastery give it a fighting chance, Xiaomi EV could follow a similar playbook to OnePlus in smartphones by offering flagship features at budget pricing. Given the company’s track record, global automakers would be wise not to underestimate Xiaomi’s EV ambitions.