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BEIJING: China’s Xiaomi said on Tuesday it will start deliveries of its first electric vehicle (EV) model SU7 this month, venturing into the world’s largest auto market amid a brutal price war.

The smartphone maker, China’s fifth-largest, said in a Weibo post it has 59 stores in 29 cities nationwide that will take orders. A launch event is scheduled for March 28 when the new EV’s sticker tag is expected to be announced.

China’s EV sales climbed 18% in January-February, not too far off 21% growth seen for all of 2023. This year has seen a round of deeper price cuts led by market leader BYD to woo consumers amid weakening domestic demand.

At the unveiling of the Speed Ultra 7 (SU7) sedan in December, Chief Executive Lei Jun said Xiaomi plans to become one of the world’s top five automakers.

The SU7, Lei touted, has “super electric motor” technology capable of delivering acceleration speeds faster than Tesla and Porsche’s EVs.

Analysts say the car’s shared operating system with Xiaomi’s popular phones and other electronic devices will appeal to the company’s existing customers.

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