Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone giant, has commenced trial production of its electric vehicles (EVs) following approval from China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The trial production, which has been underway for nearly a month, involves the production of approximately 50 prototypes per week, according to a source familiar with the matter, as reported by local media outlet Jiemian.
This critical phase of trial production serves as a crucial testing ground for Xiaomi's automotive ambitions, encompassing the evaluation of production line equipment, process integration, workforce proficiency, and overall product consistency. If any issues arise during the prototype testing, adjustments and refinements will be made to the production lines before progressing to mass production.
The NDRC's approval represents a significant milestone for Xiaomi's EV venture, making it the fourth company to receive such clearance since late 2017 in a regulatory landscape where China has become increasingly stringent in vetting eligibility for vehicle production.
However, Xiaomi's journey towards mass EV production still requires approval from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), responsible for assessing the technical and safety aspects of new automakers and models, according to Reuters. Sources cited in Jiemian's report anticipate that MIIT approval could potentially be granted in approximately two months, with the year-end representing the latest timeframe.
Xiaomi's commitment to its EV project is evident, with the company actively recruiting shop floor workers for its automotive plant in Yizhuang, Beijing, at a significant scale, targeting around 100 new hires. These workers are offered competitive salaries ranging from RMB 6,000 ($820) to RMB 7,000 for an eight-hour workday. This recruitment drive is considered an initial step in preparing for Xiaomi's EV mass production, with expectations of further expansion in hiring by the end of this year or early next year, as per a supplier source.
In its second-quarter financial report released on August 29, Xiaomi disclosed an investment of RMB 1.4 billion in its innovation business, including smart EVs. Xiaomi's president, Lu Weibing, emphasized that the company's inaugural EV had successfully concluded summer testing and remains on track for mass production in the first half of 2024