XIAOMI PARTNER WITH F1 TEAM ON NEW SCOOTER
Written by Ed Wiles, Scootered Founder
Perhaps the most eye-catching announcement from Xiaomi's official (everyone already knew about them unofficially) launch of their new range of e-scooters was that they were teaming up with Formula 1 racing team on a special edition of their Pro scooter, currently going by the pithy name of the Xiaomi Mercedes-AMG Petronas Pro 2 scooter. That was pretty much all the information that was given beyond some general platitudes about bringing "the experience of Mercedes F1 to our fans" (exactly how fast is this e-scooter going to go?). Nothing was said about its possible specs or release date. I have, of course, made inquiries about being able to sell them.
But what can we expect from this new partnership? Firstly, let's just remind ourselves who each party is in this association. Xiaomi is the Chinese tech giant, founded in 2010, that is perhaps best known in China for its mobile phones, but which makes pretty much every electronic device there is, including e-scooters (for which they are perhaps most famous in the UK). The Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, founded in 1954, is a racing team based in the UK (where most F1 teams are based) despite its obvious German heritage. Petronas (the Malaysian oil producer) is just the main sponsor of the team (think of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpar).
The Advertising Image Released by Xiaomi and Mercedes
So why have Mercedes and Xiaomi teamed up on an electric scooter? I think the answers are fairly obvious, and different for each partner. For Xiaomi, a brand that most Westerners do not even know how to pronounce, joining forces with a famous and prestigious brand like Mercedes helps give them more credence in Europe. For Mercedes, well, they make money from sharing their brand name.
Could there be technical advantages to knowledge-sharing? I have to say I doubt very much that there has or will be a transference of knowledge either way. I would expect both Mercedes and Xiaomi to be very protective over their battery research, and the F1 team would not be the most appropriate subsidiary with which to work on technology used in an e-scooter anyway. Of course, advancements made in F1 feedback into their mass production cars, but they are sponsored by an oil company for goodness sake!
Hopefully, the special edition Xiaomi Mercedes-AMG Petronas Pro 2 will be something beyond just a Pro 2 with Mercedes branding but I think we can call this a "commercial arrangement" at heart. I can just hear the Xiaomi executives hinting that Lewis Hamilton should perhaps do some course recces on the new e-scooter, and I expect he will (after all, the team do pay his wages).