Roborock founder jumps on EV bandwagon with release of Rox 01 SUV

China's saturated EV space is on the brink of a major shakeup. Consolidation is expected, since many loss-making players won't survive the cash-burning game and will be pushed out of the market.

China’s EV-making “new forces” club has had a new member.

Rox 01, a medium-to-large SUV developed by Rox Motor (洛轲智能), an EV startup, made its debut on August 22.

The SUV, available in a 6-seat or 7-seat version, sells for 349,900 yuan (US$47,996) and 359,900 yuan respectively, with delivery due to begin nationwide in November this year.

Photo courtesy of, a car news platform

Notably, Rox Motor is a company set up and headed by Chang Jing, who is the founder of Roborock (石头科技, 688169.SH), a leading domestic manufacturer of cleaning robot.

Rox Motor was founded in January 2021 with a registered capital of 1 billion yuan.

The company vaguely defines itself as a technology firm with a focus on outdoor mobility and living. It looks to provide people dreaming of a “faraway retreat” with a way to get there.

Rox 01 is positioned as an all-terrain SUV, featuring dimensions of 5050 mm × 1980 mm × 1869 mm, with a wheelbase of 3010 mm.

Chang founded Rox together with Yan Feng, ex-CTO of Weltmeister, a near-defunct EV brand, to diversify away from the robotic sweeper business.

(Left) Chang Jing (Right) Yan Feng

Chang founded Roborock in 2014 after an eight-year career with major Internet companies Microsoft, Tencent and Baidu.

Roborock started out as an OEM supplier of Xiaomi. Six years after its inception, Roborock listed on Shanghai Stock Exchange, with a market cap at one point topping 30 billion yuan.

As of press time, its shares closed 1.27% lower to end at 252.84 yuan a piece today, with a market cap of 33.62 billion yuan.

The company is known for a wide array of robot vacuums and scrubbers and competes head-on with domestic rivals like Ecovacs (科沃斯, 603486.SH).

The next rung up the value chain

To move up the value chain, Roborock resolved to stop contract manufacturing for Xiaomi, remove itself from the Xiaomi ecosystem and start releasing products under its own brand Roborock in 2017.

After years of de-Xiaomi efforts, Roborock is now widely recognized as a topnotch robot vacuum brand by its own right, rather than an ecosystem partner living in the shadows of Xiaomi.

Photo courtesy of Roborock

Its net profit after deducting non-recurring gains and losses in 2022 stood at 1.19 billion yuan, down 1.47% year on year, the first time it fell since Roborock began to part ways with Xiaomi.

This figure fell again, and by a bigger 5.40%, to 617 million yuan in the first six months of the same year, financial results show.

As a result, investors have begun cutting their holdings of Roborock shares, once a coveted asset likened to the “Maotai” of robot vacuums. Maotai is China’s premium luxury liquor.

EV-making ambitions

Market analysts believe the decision of Chang, founder of Roborock, to venture into carmaking was part inspired by its falling bottom lines, part by his own dream about building SUVs, and part by Xiaomi, which led by example to announce its EV-making ambitions.

Rox has been a darling of venture funds since its birth, counting Gaorong Capital, Northernlight, Tencent, Sequoia China, Coatue and IDG among its backers.

Following its last US$200 million fundraiser in April 2022, the company was valued at US$2 billion.

Photo courtesy of, a car news platform

Technology-wise, the technologies and components Rox Motor sources for its vehicles are the same as those used on Roborock robotic cleaners.

They include visual sensor, 3D Time-of-Flight sensor, lidar, ultrasonic radar and millimeter-wave radar.

In terms of software, AI-powered navigation algorithms and multi-sensory fusion technologies are also being adopted on Roborock’s cleaning robots.

Photo courtesy of, a car news platform

A disruptor in the red-sea market?

It remains to be seen if and how Rox Motor’s entry into the brutal EV competition at this time will change the industry landscape.

China’s saturated EV space is on the brink of a major shakeup. Consolidation is expected, since many loss-making players find it hard to survive the cash-burning game and will be pushed out of the market.

Carmaking is a drain on Rox Motor’s cash supply. Market speculations have now centered on the extent to which Chang, a multi-billionaire, is willing to go to finance his own dreams — and with money out of his own pocket.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at

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