Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer XPeng on Wednesday night held the official launch of its latest model, the P5 smart family sedan. Initially available only for orders in China, with deliveries expected by the end of October, company employees have indicated plans to develop another version for the European market sometime in the next year.
Boldly labelled as “game-changing” by XPeng, the P5 sedan integrates light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology, which can be used to carry out a wide range of autonomous driving functions. The vehicle is among the most competitively priced models to use this advanced technology, with its cost ranging from 157,900-223,900 yuan ($24,500-$34,800).
At this price range, XPeng is taking aim at a market sector that has traditionally been dominated by gasoline-powered automobiles. Recent years have seen the Chinese EV industry become increasingly competitive as a host of new entrants – including prominent technology companies Baidu and Xiaomi – set their sights on the country’s growing consumer base for new energy vehicles.
When asked by Pandaily about this week’s comments from Chinese regulators, suggesting the need for consolidation of the domestic EV market, XPeng President and Vice Chairman Brian Gu said: “For us, I think we already have a plan that’s operational, and we’re in the middle of building two more plants,” referring to the firm’s construction projects in the Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Wuhan. Gu continued: “But in the long run, if we need additional capacity – which we will need probably in a year or two to think about that question – we may actually think about using consolidation or M&A as a tool to get more capacity.”
Gu also stated that while XPeng does not anticipate its production goals to be adversely affected by the ongoing global chip shortage, the company has also developed contingency plans should the situation worsen.
Founded in 2014 by a group of automotive and technology entrepreneurs, including the company’s namesake and former Alibaba executive He Xiaopeng, XPeng is one of China’s leading producers of new energy vehicles. Currently holding a market capitalization of roughly $32 billion, the firm successfully completed a public listing on the NYSE in August of last year.