While the Xpeng G3 electric vehicle (EV) continues its stellar sales climb, the stunning P7 EV has finished a round of tests equal to traveling 10 times around the globe. The company also secured a charging network and ecosystem partnership with TELD, China’s largest charging infrastructure. Additionally, the P7 is the first Smart Car with its own Alibaba In-Car Mini app, and pioneers an IFAA-standard Virtual Car Key. Not bad for a three-year young startup working on a Chinese schedule.
Xpeng Motors meets its deadlines. That is the thing that impressed me most about this startup. It is low key, skips lavish fanfare, and gets down to business with a simple growth strategy, one market at a time. In three years, Xpeng got funded by prominent international investors, including Alibaba Group, IDG Capital, Primavera Capital Group, Morningside Venture Capital, GGV Capital, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun, and Xpeng CEO He Xiaopeng himself, amongst others. That doesn’t happen with empty bluster.
Is Driving 10 Times Around The World Enough?
The first big news about Xpeng is that the company’s next EV, the P7, finished its simulated road endurance and durability test results, which the company says it passed “with flying colours.” The driving distance showed that the EV could handle 400,000 km (248,549 miles) in China’s Chongqing West Automotive Testing Center. This is the equal of driving 10 times around the world.
To travel this far, Xpeng announced a partnership with TELD, China’s largest charging network and ecosystem, for a nationwide network. Xpeng and TELD will share charging and related payment data throughout the country. This means the Xpeng P7 will have access to TELD’s 50,000 charging stations in 183 cities through a simple code scan. Xpeng Motors is the first new EV maker in China to use TELD’s technology. This means both companies will have real-time access to charging usage.
He Xiaopeng, Chairman and CEO of Xpeng Motors, said: “Xpeng Motors and TELD are pioneering a new model and the partnership represents a win-win opportunity, leveraging the strength and capability of front-runners in the smart vehicle sector and new energy power sector.”
Xpeng Motors has built 76 supercharging stations across 18 cities in China so far. The partnership with TELD forms part of its plan to offer 200 supercharging stations in 30 cities for its customers in 2019.
In another news release, Xpeng announced that it will use China’s Internet Finance Authentication Alliance’s (IFAA) new digital car key technical spec for its sleek, upcoming P7. Xpeng expects to launch the P7 in the spring of 2020, a year after the previous G3 SUV. This makes the Xpeng P7 the first to put in place the Chinese IFAA standard.
What is the IFAA? It was established in 2015 with the China Institute of Information and Communications, Ant Financial, Huawei, Samsung, and ZTE. The alliance concentrates on implementing and fostering Internet authentication security standards with over 200 corporate members from 10 countries. The group focuses on device and chip manufacturers, security solutions and machining learning providers, and government monitoring institutions. So far, over 1.5 billion devices are using the IFAA solutions. The IFAA fingerprint authentication and facial recognition systems already have over 500 million users.
The IFAA’s new virtual car key standards sets and implements its Internet authentication security standards and released its new set of standards and technical specifications for digital vehicle keys. Xpeng is acting as Co-Chair of IFAA’s Technical Standard Focus Group in July.
Ji Yu, Vice President at Xpeng Motors said at Alibaba’s 2019 Hangzhou Apsara Conference:
“Today marks a milestone in the development of security measures for smart connected vehicles. The new standards bring the most advanced authentication technology – hitherto mostly used in the finance industry – onboard connected vehicles. This is the first time that biometrics-based technologies such as facial recognition and fingerprints are implemented in digital keys for smart vehicles.
“As a frontrunner in the smart electric vehicle sector, Xpeng Motors is honored to have worked with the IFAA and industry leader Ant Financial to build better industry standards. The partnership is an endorsement of Xpeng’s strength as a leading player in the smart EV space.”
Key components are secure facial and fingerprint unlocking of vehicles based on biometrics, remote starting, auto-parking, and calling vehicles to pick you up. It includes the secure sharing of virtual keys to family members via Bluetooth. Although that last point brings security questions — Bluetooth has had its fair share of security problems — the IFAA platform says it has addressed security concerns.
Is Xpeng The New Startup Juggernaut?
So far, Xpeng has delivered on the key milestones it said it would. The 10,000th Xpeng G3 SUV was manufactured in June of this year. It snapped up the highest total score of 92.2% among EVs in the latest China New Car Assessment Program (C-NCAP) safety test in July. The company followed with an enhanced 2020 Xpeng G3 model in July, with deliveries in September.
CleanTechnica was at the premiere of the P7 smart coupe in April at the Shanghai Auto Show, which the company plans to deliver in Q2 2020. The design won me over, especially with its unexpected subtlety.
The latest round of news show impressive achievements for a three-year young startup. We hope this will challenge the rest of the EV/AV industry to continue to deliver and meet a new e-mobility generation’s expectations.
Nicolas Zart has not received monetary compensation for this article unless you consider 22 hours in economy seats, 5 days in a hotel, and delicious local food as such.