Xiaomi, which makes extended-range vehicles, is “emergency evacuation”

The pure charging time from the start to the end of charging is about 30 to 40 minutes for NIO users. For several mainstream extended-range vehicles, the pure charging time on NIO stations is 50 to 60 minutes.

Not long ago, Shen Fei, senior vice president of NIO Energy, revealed on social platforms. He believes that the charging speed of extended-range models is twice as slow as that of pure electric models, and the charging time of extended-range models will eventually be twice that of pure electric models.

▲ Senior Vice President of NIO Energy-Shen Fei

Range-extended vehicles have always been labeled as "old technology". The average quality of the engine, the simple and traditional series structure, the acceleration performance that drops off a "cliff" when power is lost, and the simple structure but requiring 95% oil consumption. These are the "disadvantages" of the range-extended vehicle in the mass market.

"Extended range is the ticket, and pure electric power is the complete form of advancement."

Most car companies on the market seem to be carefully following this law. The biggest beneficiary of the extended-range model is Ideal. After achieving great success in the extended-range model, he has also begun to lay out his own pure electric plan in an orderly manner. The first pure electric MPV MEGA is also at the stage of "coming soon".

However, there are also some "rebels" in the mainstream trend of pure electricity. Xiaomi's car, which carries Lei Jun's "last battle of his career", is a member of the "reverse range extension". According to reports, Xiaomi has internally determined to develop extended range power products. On the official recruitment website, Xiaomi has begun to release job requirements for "extended range system design and development engineers".

▲Lei Jun picture from: Bloomberg

Xiaomi builds cars and also wants to rely on extended-range cars for "emergency evacuation."

The tragedy of the pure electric market, Xiaomi’s soft landing

As a new entrant to the new energy table, Xiaomi’s “aspiration” is pure electricity.

In July this year, one of its suppliers, FAW Fuwei, revealed that the purchase quotation for Xiaomi Motors' first model "Modena" has been completed. According to the news, "Modena", as Xiaomi's first car model, will be positioned as a pure electric coupe and has now entered the stage of summer and winter testing.

▲ Xiaomi’s first car road test-picture from Weibo

In mid-August, good news came again for Xiaomi's car manufacturing. Xiaomi Motors officially obtained the approval from the National Development and Reform Commission to produce electric vehicles. Since 2017, Xiaomi is also the fourth car manufacturer to officially obtain the approval. Next, Xiaomi only needs to obtain approval from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to gather the "big and small qualifications" to build a car.

During the same period, Xiaomi Motors finalized its first and second-tier battery suppliers, namely Sino-Sino Aviation and CATL. The BYD envisaged by Volkswagen did not make it to the final list of suppliers. Based on the early exposure of the power battery parameters, Xiaomi’s first model is expected to be equipped with a 101kWh large-capacity battery made of ternary lithium. The rated voltage of the battery is as high as 726.7V, and the total weight of the battery pack is approximately 624kg.

▲Pictures from Weibo

The two key elements of a 100-degree large battery and an 800V high-voltage architecture are almost all signs that Xiaomi will focus on the pure electric track. However, the news of the recruitment of range-extending experts broke the consensus of the outside world. Xiaomi has internally clarified the range-extending product line. Xiaomi's first car will also launch pure electric and extended-range versions at the same time.

The "reverse range extension" action is unexpected, but it is also reasonable. Xiaomi does not believe in the so-called "one step to achieve success".

Xiaomi, which has only been late in handing over its car-making achievements in 2024, has obviously lost its first-mover advantage compared to a number of new power brands. If it wants to survive in the fiercely competitive new energy track, Xiaomi, which entered the game late, must be extra cautious. , especially in the pure electric market with sluggish growth.

According to relevant statistics, the sales volume of domestic pure electric models in 2021 will increase by 158.69% year-on-year; however, starting from 2022, pure electric sales will hit a "bottleneck", and the overall market is expected to experience a large downward contraction, with the year-on-year growth rate falling to 68.4%; in the past first half of 2023, the growth of the pure electric market continued to hit a wall, with sales growth slowing down to 2.5%.

Focusing on the price range where Xiaomi cars are about to enter, the pure electric market in this part is not that big. As of April this year, in the price range of 200,000 to 300,000 yuan, the share of pure electric models is about 25%. Once the price exceeds the red line of 300,000 yuan, the penetration rate of pure electric models is like a "deflated rubber ball." , the share dropped significantly to 14%. For comparison, the penetration rate of plug-in hybrid models during the same period reached 18%, a gap of 5 points between the two.

At least in the market in the 200,000-400,000 yuan range, the sales appeal of pure electric vehicles is not as great as outsiders imagine, and it will take time for the public to change its attitude towards pure electric models.

Standing on the opposite side of pure electric vehicles, how is the performance of the range-extended vehicle market that is labeled as "old technology"?

Another market terminal data shows that in the past first half of the year, the total domestic sales of extended-range models were approximately 208,000 units, a year-on-year increase of 141.86%. Although in the overall plug-in hybrid market, the sales volume of extended range models only accounts for 22.5%, but this small piece of cake is a "blue ocean" that is growing more rapidly. On the road to pure electric, extended range models have differentiated a new dynamic market. .

Xiaomi is not a lone practitioner of "reverse range extension". The previous one to reverse the situation in terms of range extension was Leapmotor. In February this year, this new power car company headquartered in Hangzhou launched its first extended-range model, the Leapmoon C11 extended-range version. Facing a larger user market, the addition of the extended-range version has brought more room for improvement to the C11. In August, the monthly delivery of C11 pure electric/extended-range models exceeded 10,000, successfully taking over the baton of the T-series models. The average bicycle price of Leapmotor has been increased to 130,000 yuan.

The extended range of "Old Hip Pull" can even become a weapon to reverse the situation of the battle with reasonable operation and play.

Xiaomi, which is about to enter the market, has sensed a "crisis" in the pure electric market in advance. It is worth mentioning that after getting rid of the shackles of battery costs, the extended-range models can also give Xiaomi more ample pricing space, so that Xiaomi will not be subject to supply cost pressure in the early stages of entry and become too passive. As a back-up player, the addition of extended-range models can provide Xiaomi with more fault tolerance and achieve a quick "soft landing" in the automotive market.

Xiaomi's approach to compatibility with extended range is actually a very smart "risk avoidance" method.

Quick effect, short-term payback

Xiaomi's comprehensive hardware profit margin will never exceed 5%.

In 2018, Lei Jun wrote this in an internal letter from Xiaomi. In 2023, Lei Jun will bring the "5% profit" approach to Xiaomi Motors, and he will go even further. It can be known from internal reports that Xiaomi plans to implement the thinking of manufacturing mobile phones into the car manufacturing business. Lei Jun hopes that Xiaomi Auto’s total hardware profit will be maintained at 1%, and it will eventually achieve profitability through the car’s software ecosystem.

Combined with the battery information mentioned above, the cost of Xiaomi cars is indeed not low. According to media reports, CATL’s latest lithium iron phosphate battery system is priced at about 800 yuan/kWh, while the battery system made of ternary lithium is basically priced at 1,000 yuan/kWh. Doing a simple mathematical conversion, even based on the quoted price of lithium iron phosphate, the cost of the 101kWh large battery pack installed in Xiaomi cars is about 80,000 yuan. Xiaomi, which is new to the automotive industry, has difficulty taking the initiative in pricing. Xiaomi Auto's initial profits will not be very impressive.

Moreover, even if we don’t talk about whether 1% hardware profit can be achieved, Xiaomi’s pursuit of short-term returns will become a very important thing if it wants to maintain a very low profit level in the automotive business with huge costs. If Xiaomi Auto cannot activate profits quickly, it is likely to deteriorate into a "money-burning game" with a long front line.

If you want to follow Xiaomi's internal profit assumptions, Xiaomi's software ecosystem must be strengthened immediately. Of course, having a sufficient user base is a prerequisite for making software profitable. Users in the pure electric market are far from enough to support the volume of profits. Only by developing an extended-range version and covering more car model markets can we reach more users.

▲ Xiaomi cars in winter testing

Just like the MPV track mentioned in some previous articles of Dong Auto Club, the Ideal MEGA uses its cutting-edge and bold design appearance to occupy the aesthetic "high ground" of MPV models in advance. The Xpeng X9 uses technological intelligence to dominate the voice of MPV's smart driving. So, Xiaomi's launch of the extended-range version is also an attempt to seize users' ecological payment mentality.

Whether starting from the pure electric stock market or in order to better realize the goal of "making profits through software ecology", launching extended-range models is a harmless thing for Xiaomi.

# Welcome to follow the official WeChat public account of aifaner: aifaner (WeChat ID: ifanr). More exciting content will be provided to you as soon as possible.

Ai Faner | Original link · View comments · Sina Weibo