Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai
Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai, picture Nicolas Zart

Autonomous Vehicles

Xpeng’s Pragmatic Leadership In China’s EV Startup Revolution — #CleanTechnica Field Trip, Auto Shanghai 2019

Xpeng invited us to come to the Auto Shanghai show to see how well its electric G3 was doing in China. I previously visited its San Jose USA headquarters, where part of its autonomous driving research department develops the G3 and now P7 experience. That’s where I met Xpeng’s founder and owner, Mr. He Xiapeng. I was surprised to discover the company’s wise strategy and took it as a sign of changing times for mobility startups.

Xpeng invited us to come to the Auto Shanghai show to see how well its electric G3 was doing in China. I previously visited its San Jose USA headquarters, where part of its autonomous driving research department develops the G3 and now P7 experience. That’s where I met Xpeng’s founder and owner, Mr. He Xiaopeng. I was surprised to discover the company’s wise strategy and took it as a sign of changing times for mobility startups.

Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai

There is something different about Xpeng. In the midst of the never-ending lineup of Chinese EV makers, the company stands out. It differentiates itself from others by only showing production-ready models. No unrealistic concepts here.

My few interviews with He Xiaopeng led me to understand that he didn’t think being present everywhere and selling cars globally quickly was a good idea. Although, that should happen with Xpeng when the company feels it has a solid presence in the local Chinese market and can move on to other Asian countries before extending into Europe and America.

The Xpeng G3 & P7 — Electric & Connected

The level of quality I found throughout Auto Shanghai 2019 this year was impressive, down to body-panel alignments, interior assembly, and overall execution. China could be where Japanese carmakers were at the beginning of the ’80s. And since this culture has little automotive heritage to worry about, it can design new mobility devices without the many constraints traditional automakers in the US, Europe, and Japan face.

By the way, guess where self-driving cars will take off first?

Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai

Introduced at CES 2018 in January 2018, the Xpeng G3 starts at ¥155,800 to ¥199,800 after local subsidies, or ¥227,800 to ¥257,800 before subsidies, which translates to $23,188 to $29,736 and $33,903 to $38,368 (at time of print). The currently available electric G3 is a smart digital autonomous Level 2.5 SUV based on the Xpeng Identity X internet concept car. You can see the rest of the car’s safety features here.

But the Xpeng highlight this year was the sleek looking P7, just unveiled at Auto Shanghai. Despite a few usual headlines, I don’t feel it looks like any specific car. It has its own design language. This is an important point among the few Chinese designers I spoke with, who are very aware of the value of developing their very own automotive design DNA.

There were many concepts at Auto Shanghai, some available and others in various development stages, that showed how far China’s automotive aesthetic and quality has come and how much it continues to evolve. While I was kindly brought to the show by Xpeng, another CleanTechnica writer who had no idea about this, Tim Dixon, was so excited about the P7 that he wrote up a story about the unveiling, something he doesn’t do often. That highlights how much this company stands out among many noteworthy names in the giant Chinese EV market (a market approximately the size of the rest of the world’s EV market combined).

Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai

Who Is Xpeng?

But, wait a second, let’s rewind. Who is Xpeng?

Xpeng is not a household name yet in the West, but it could very well become one if Mr. He continues to lead the company the way he has so far. A fundamental part of success for a startup is to use its resources in lean ways and surround itself with the right people. Xpeng did that by assembling an impressive team of automotive, financial, and technology experts. The team expanded from 600 to over 3,000 in 3 years, with the focused mission to make one new car a year.

Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai

Mr. He Xiaopeng, founder and Xpeng owner.

If the name He Xiaopeng sounds familiar, that’s because he was the co-founder of the UCWeb web browser bought by Alibaba a few years back. Since then, he invested in a connected EV company with a top-notch team of financial and digital experts. He is focused on practical achievements, getting rolling ASAP, and skipping unhelpful flash. In our last interview, Mr. He said he wanted Xpeng to be unlike other EV mobility providers by only showing production-ready models at events. No concepts here, go elsewhere for that. And that was a refreshing note for me. I found both He and Xpeng to be down to Earth, progressing forward one market at a time without excessive fanfare.

Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai

The Xpeng team are made up of veterans from both within and outside the automotive industry. Henry Xia, co-Founder, and President of Xpeng, came from the automotive industry. Henry Xia was with the Automotive Engineering Research Institute of Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. from July 2008 to Dec 2014, where he served as the Chief of Control Section of Guangzhou Automobile New Energy Center.

Dr. Brian GU, Vice Chairman and President of Xpeng, showed me the company was in good financial hands, as he’s ex-Managing Director and Chairman of Asia Pacific Investment Banking, and a member of J.P. Morgan’s Global Strategic Advisory Council. Brian also served as an M&A banker at Lehman Brothers in New York and is responsible today for Xpeng’s strategy, finance, fundraising, investments and globalization efforts.

Jack Xu is Vice President of Automotive at Xpeng and used to be the former vice president of powertrain & ESS at Fisker Automotive, & was electrifying vehicles at Ford in the early 1990s!

Finally, and certainly not least, is Mr. He Tao, the Design Center Senior Director. He spent two years at Guangzhou Automobile Group before co-founding Xiaopeng Automotive.

Why the “G3” Xpeng? That’s because G stands for geek — and geeking out I did while spending time with the team. I had great discussions and opportunities to discover more of Xpeng and this new wave of pragmatic startups in the Chinese EV market.

Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai Xpeng P7 G3 Auto Shanghai

So far, Xpeng has 5 R&D centers. They focus on powertrain technology, vehicle technology, autonomous driving, AI, and finally connectivity technology. Another important part of the recipe that accounts for its success in China is that about 70% of the company’s current 3,000 employees are R&D-related staff. Over 95% of the company’s R&D staff are based in China.

I’ll have more from Xpeng and Shanghai soon. Stay tuned.

 
 
 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 

Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
 

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Advertisement
 
Written By

Nicolas was born and raised around classic cars of the 1920s, but it wasn't until he drove an AC Propulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Ever since he has produced green mobility content on various CleanTech outlets since 2007 and found his home on CleanTechnica. He grew up in an international environment and his communication passion led to cover electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, renewable energy, test drives, podcasts, shoot pictures, and film for various international outlets in print and online. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he has forged in those industries. His favorite taglines are: "There are more solutions than obstacles." and "Yesterday's Future Now"

Comments

You May Also Like

Batteries

Following closely on the heels of rumors about sodium-ion batteries, BYD announced a new 20 GWh battery factory in China.

Cars

General Motors is set to introduce new electric cars in China and may bring a Chinese EV to the US shortly.

Batteries

Ford wants the U.S. to be a bit loose in determining whether EVs comply with new EV tax credit requirements. Read on for what’s...

Cars

Full electric cars accounted for 22% of new car sales in the Chinese market last month! Plugin vehicles continue to be all the rage...

Copyright © 2022 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.