CleanTechnica was invited to the Guangzhou Auto Show by Xpeng Motors to see the official unveiling of its sleek P7. If you haven’t heard about the P7 yet, see our previous articles on it. The electric vehicle (EV) is Xpeng’s second car and resoundingly focuses on an intelligent, smart platform. The car is chock full of goodies, and the interior feels spacious, roomy, and very comfortable.
For its second EV, the P7 is a radical departure from the previous G3 SUV it presented earlier this year at the Shanghai Auto Show. So far, the company has sold over 12,000 G3s in 2019, more in the first half of 2019 than any model from a new Chinese EV producer.
The P7 unveiling attracted a lot of attention at the Guangzhou Auto Show from professionals, with a never-ending flow of cameras, questions, and people sitting in the car. The recorders were on and everyone listened as Xiaopeng, CEO and Founder of Xpeng Motors spoke in front of an eager crowd.
The Xpeng Motors P7 is a great looking car with enough performance to satisfy European and North America desires if it ever comes west. It boasts impressive performance (650 km+ NEDC, or 400 miles — which is probably about 400 km or 250+ miles adjusted to the more realistic WLTP calculations).
To date, Xpeng Motors has received 15,431 pre-orders, since April 2019. We got to see and feel the interior of the near-production P7. It’s a spacious, elegant, and comfortable EV with plenties of goodies. The color black with a dark tan combination was inviting. The dash was simple, elegant, and not intrusive or overwhelming. It was laid out in a traditional way, with 2 front seats and 3 behind. All are very comfortable and I could see myself in it for hours without feeling claustrophobic or in pain.
The P7 will handle very well. Xpeng Motors worked with Porsche Engineering to make sure the chassis was up to snuff. This isn’t just your average startup working on its own through trial and error. Although Xpeng Motors prides itself on developing most of its technology in-house, the company made the right choice by collaborating with a carmaker that has a lot of experience in handling.
The Xpeng Motors P7 “smart sports sedan,” as the company likes to call it, is the company’s second vehicle using Smart Electric Platform Architecture. At a pre-price range of RMB 270,000–370,000 ($38,400 to $52,600), it will come in 5 different configurations, with both rear-wheel-drive (RWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) option. The top-of-the-line AWD model will come with a 196 kW (263 HP) rear motor and another 120 kW (161 HP) front motor. This gives the P7 a 0–62 MPH time of 6.7 seconds for the base model and 4.3 seconds for the AWD version, according to the company. This also puts the Xpeng P7 in the same range as the Tesla Model 3 Long Range, according to Tom Moloughney, who was there with us.
The P7’s smart cockpit is lightweight, with a full-width instrument panel. It sports top-quality ambient audiovisual additions, a high-quality sound system, and luxurious upholstery and detailing. I noticed the driver seat wraps speakers around the headrest, which feel like they’d provide a solid immersion situation.
The Xpeng P7 justifies its smart platform claim with an NVIDIA DRIVE Xavier, it says is NVIDIA’s most advanced autonomous vehicle chip. This chip handles the infotainment while QUALCOMM’s vehicle processor handles the driving operations of the EV.
The P7 packs 12 ultrasonic sensors, 5 high-precision Bosch 5th-generation millimeter-wave radars, 13 autonomous driving cameras, 1 in-car camera with HD mapping and high-precision positioning, and the much anticipated XPILOT 3.0 advanced driver-assist system, which can be upgraded to the company’s next XPILOT 4.0. On the safety side, the P7 sports a continuous damping control (CDC) system with Brembo brakes.
There is a C-NCAP 5-star standard safety design with 28 active safety functions and an independent data security module PSO, the first in China to adopt top-line data security hardware.
We spoke of the design in our last Xpeng article. The drag coefficient is very honorable at Cd 0.236 — the lowest among the domestic Chinese market.
The P7 is full of smart audiovisual interactive devices with no fewer than 47 sensors enabling close to 50 human interior interaction devices. The company says it relies on more than 30 teraflops to power it. Sound-wise, the interior uses an 18-speaker top-tier Dynaudio Confidence sound system augmented with ambient lighting to create a mobile concert-hall immersion atmosphere.
The P7’s Xmart OS uses over-the-air updates for seamless upgrades found on Xpeng’s App Store. Xpeng Motors told me it is working on a variety of apps to be ready for download and announced it is making the P7 the first production car to carry the Alibaba In-car Mini Program. It will also use a Bluetooth virtual key (NFC digital key), the first embedded in Xiaomi devices such as smartphones, smartwatches, and bracelets.
Xpeng says it has 86 sales stores so far and expects over 100 by the end of the year. This includes 49 service centers also in operation, and the company expects that number to rise to nearly 100 by year-end.
The company already has 200 Xpeng supercharger stations in operation across 30 cities. It expects to raise that number to 1,000 over the next 3 years. There are over 100,000 3rd-party charging stations connected to the Xpeng nationwide charging network. I found the Xpeng charging stations are well designed and look appealing, sporting an X to match the brand.
He Xiaopeng, Chairman and CEO of Xpeng Motors, was quoted as saying at the press day in Guangzhou: “At a keenly competitive price, with one the most advanced feature sets on the market, the P7 is a breakout vehicle for the Chinese market. The high quality of the P7’s interior, and its combination of luxurious detailing with cutting-edge advanced interactive technologies, from vehicle-driver interaction to concert hall-quality musical sound, demonstrates our dedication to refining and improving the entire driving experience.”
He also added an interesting tidbit: “We are well prepared to face the challenges of a severe winter with our prudent execution strategy, superior products, healthy growth, and most importantly strong support from our customers and shareholders.” As some are already predicting, the next few years will be tumultuous. Many startups will be caught up in a maelstrom of geopolitical tensions, tariff wars, and a tit-for-tat war between China and the US. Xpeng Motors pre-emptively raised $400 million in its Series C fundraising and brought on Xiaomi Corporation as a new strategic investor, as we previously reported. Xpeng tells me customer deliveries in China will happen around the second quarter of 2020.
The Xpeng Motors P7 comes with Level 2.5 autonomous driving and can be upgraded to 3 via an OTA update a year after its release. It will come with the company’s XPILOT 3.0.
Overall, the Guangzhou Auto Show was a good discovery. Guangzhou is the third-largest city in China and the auto show represented the domestic car market well. Most Chinese carmakers are still building internal combustion cars and seem intent on following the SUV craze from the West. It makes some sense, as they prefer roomy interiors. I did find a few automakers that were focusing on smart electric platforms and will write more about them in my next article.
In the meantime, I find the Xpeng Motors P7 to be striking and that it would make for a great competitor to the Tesla Model 3, Kia Niro, or Hyundai Kona — and is in the same price range.