BEIJING, April 18 (Reuters) - China's Xiaomi said on Thursday that sales of its sporty electric vehicle have been 3-5 times higher than expected, and it had started deliveries of the SU7 - short for Speed Ultra 7 - 12 days earlier than previously announced.

The comments were made by the company's founder and CEO Lei Jun at a livestreamed event at Xiaomi's Beijing car delivery centre. (Reporting by Qiaoyi Li and Brenda Goh; Editing by Jan Harvey)