Chinese electric carmaker XPeng Motors said it has not been affected by the global chip supply shortage and plans to launch its third production model in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to XPeng Vice Chairman and President Gu Hongdi Brian.
Gu made the remarks to Bloomberg on Tuesday following XPeng’s announcement of a major technological upgrade to its flagship P7 four-door sedan.
“We are aware of the global chip shortage and fortunately, we are not affected by the problem,” Gu said. “XPeng focuses on producing premium smart electric vehicles with high-end chips that are not mass-produced.”
“Moreover, our production volume for this year and the next remains relatively manageable, compared to some larger OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) that would require far more chipsets,” he said, adding that XPeng attaches importance to the mid to high-end market, which currently has a relatively low penetration rate.
Ford Motor Co, Toyota Motor Corp, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Nissan Motor Co were the latest automakers hit by the global chip crunch caused by a rebound in consumer demand from the coronavirus pandemic, announcing in early January that they would cut vehicle production for the month.
Gu also confirmed that XPeng will be launching a third model later this year. Full specifications and prices will be announced in a few months, and deliveries to the mass market will take place by the beginning of the fourth quarter, he said.
Guangzhou-based XPeng said on Tuesday that the new over-the-air (OTA) upgrade is “the most powerful and most comprehensive OTA upgrade in the company’s six-year history,” with more than 40 new functions and more than 200 optimized features. A new version of the operating system, Xmart OS 2.5.0, will be delivered to P7 sedan owners in China.
New functions include autonomous driving assistance, full-scenario voice assistance, smart audio and music cockpit, as well as an in-car App ecosystem.
The highlight of the OTA upgrade is the launch of the Navigation Guided Pilot (NGP), a highway autonomous driving feature that allows the P7 sedan to automatically change lanes, overtake cars, avoid obstacles, adjust speed, and enter and exit highways.
The feature is part of the next generation of Xpeng’s XPILOT 3.0, its autonomous driving assistance system (ADAS) powered by Nvidia’s Xavier computing system. XPeng’s P7 sedan is seen as a direct rival to Tesla’s Model 3, and the NGP is a challenge to the US EV maker’s Autopilot.
In the last three months, stocks of the three US-listed Chinese EV makers, Nio, Li Auto and XPeng have jumped, driven by strong delivery figures and continued investor interest in the industry. XPeng delivered a total of 27,041 vehicles in 2020, a 112% increase year-on-year.
The Chinese government hopes that 30% of cars sold by 2025 will have smart connectivity and has been providing extensive policy support to the EV sector, including tax subsidies, license plate laws, registration benefits and charging infrastructure investments.