Xiaomi Auto will see simulation prototypes in September, followed by on-field and winter tests as scheduled, according to local media.

Xiaomi's auto team numbers over 1,600, new progress expected in September, report says-CnEVPost

Xiaomi's automotive team has surpassed 1,600 people, local tech portal Sina Tech said in a report on Thursday, citing internal information from the smartphone giant.

For reference, Xiaomi mentioned in late March when it announced its fourth-quarter results last year that the size of its R&D team for its automotive business had exceeded 1,000 people, without disclosing the number of people on the entire automotive team.

Xiaomi founder Lei Jun praised Xiaomi Auto's engineering R&D team at a meeting not long ago, saying that despite the impact of the Covid epidemic and widespread prolonged work from home, the R&D progress has not been delayed, according to Sina Tech.

Xiaomi was cautious about disclosing information after announcing it was jumping on the car-making bandwagon, but voices from inside and outside Xiaomi said the progress exceeded expectations, according to the report.

The company is currently waiting to receive a new energy vehicle (NEV) production qualification from regulators, and the winter and summer testing and verification of its products, and the building of its marketing and service system are progressing as planned, the report said.

Xiaomi Auto will see the initial phase of simulation prototypes in September, followed by onsite and winter testing as scheduled, according to the report.

The business has already locked in parts supplies from supply chain partners for some of the latest scarce processes, and has also started moving forward with sales and operations-related projects in China, the report said.

Xiaomi officially announced it was joining the car-making bandwagon on March 30 last year, saying its initial investment in the car business was RMB 10 billion ($1.54 billion), with an expected investment of $10 billion over the next 10 years.

At the end of November last year, Xiaomi signed a contract with the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Area Management Committee to build a headquarters base for its auto business and its sales and R&D headquarters in Yizhuang, and will build a car factory with an annual production capacity of 300,000 units.

The plant will be built in two phases, with an annual production capacity of 150,000 vehicles in the first and second phases, respectively, an announcement at the time said, adding that Xiaomi's first car is expected to roll off the production line and achieve mass production in 2024.

Earlier this month, Sina Tech reported that Xiaomi's car-building progress was approaching a major point, with Lei set to have an engineering prototype of the company's first model unveiled at a public event in August. But the report was later denied by Xiaomi.

On July 7, a blue vehicle with the words "Xiaomi Pilot Test" emblazoned on its body was seen on the street, generating widespread interest.

The vehicle's roof had a similar setup to many self-driving test vehicles, including a clearly raised module and a LiDAR.

Xiaomi later said that this was not a vehicle that the company would be releasing, but rather a test of self-driving technology.

Xiaomi rumored to have bought 200 BYD Han vehicles for collecting self-driving data

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