China is leading the electric car revolution, thanks to strong mandates and generous incentives from the government. Half of all electric car sales worldwide now take place in China. That sort of market success is leading to the formation of several new companies dedicated to producing the electrified, connected, and autonomous cars that are presumed to be the future of motoring.
One of the latest is Xiaopeng Motors, founded in 2015 by He Xiaopeng. He was at the Boao conference this week, an annual event known as the Asian Davos, where he told an interviewer the company plans to start taking reservations for its first model, the G3 crossover, by the end of this month according to a report by Bloomberg. To get production started, the company plans to raise $1.6 billion this year.
The funding is being lead by Alibaba, the enormously successful Chinese internet company that is like a combination of Amazon and Google, and Foxconn. Based in Hangzhou, Alibaba has developed its own car operating system and is betting connected cars will create new revenue streams.
Xiaopeng announced at the Boao conference, “Today, the first mass production model of Xiaopeng Automobile was formally launched, creating a new model for the cross-border integration of internet car and traditional car companies.” The car is called the G3 and is a crossover utility vehicle. The company has offered few details about the car other than to say “the automotive industry has officially entered the era of electrification, intelligence, and networking. We are transforming the automotive industry with the ultimate internet thinking, and at the same time we are also concentrating on the manufacturing of automotive hardware.”
Xiaopeng said his company will collaborate with Alibaba in maps and cloud products in a non-exclusive alliance, adding the company’s focus is on ensuring quality of production ramp-up. Capacity will reach “tens of thousands” of units next year, he said. Xiaopeng supports China’s plan to allow foreign automakers greater ownership in joint ventures, believing it will spur real competition and ensure the quality of cars made in China.
China’s leader, Xi Jinping, used the Boao conference to say his country would soon restructure its policies on foreign companies owning manufacturing facilities in China and would lower import tariffs on foreign built vehicles. How that statement meshes with the war of words going on between Chinese officials and Donald Trump is unclear at this moment.
Images by Xiopeng
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