“Tesla killer” is a way overused phrase and any writer who uses it should be taken out and shot, metaphorically speaking. But the all new XPeng P7 may be the closest thing yet to a true competitor to Tesla in the Chinese market — it has more range than any Chinese car, a low starting price, luxurious interior, and Level 3 autonomous driving all rolled into an attractive package that is pleasing to the eye.
Want proof? CleanTechnica’s Jose Pontes calls the P7 “a Model S kind of car for Model 3 kind of money.” Prices start at just $32,500 for a car that allegedly can travel 441 miles (NEDC) on a single charge of its 81 kWh battery. XPeng’s first car, an electric SUV called the G3, was manufactured by Haima, but the P7 will be made by XPeng’s own Zhaoqing Xpeng Motors Intelligent Industrial Park in Guangdong Province. Annual production at the new factory is said to be about 100,000 cars.
Here’s more about the P7. It uses prismatic NCM battery cells with an energy density of 170 Wh per kilogram supplied by CATL. The battery pack itself is only 110 mm high. Underneath the slippery exterior (Cd of 0.236) is a suspension developed in collaboration with an unnamed “luxury sports style German engineering brand.” It features a double wishbone front suspension and a 5-link independent suspension in the rear.
Over-the-air updates are part of the P7 package, as is NVIDIA’s DRIVE Xavier system-on-a-chip which is capable of 30 trillion operations per second, 12 times more powerful than the chips in most competing brands, XPeng says in a press release. XPeng’s Xmart OS 2.0 hardware uses Qualcomm’s top-line Snapdragon™ 820A vehicle processor, the most powerful in production cars, for unprecedented levels of intelligent control and comfort while driving, XPeng says. All that electronic firepower is needed for the Level 3 autonomous driving system baked into the P7.
The P7 is designed and built with four goals, the company says. Drive further. Charge quicker. Accelerate faster. Control smoother. It reportedly has already been very well received by the Chinese public following a series of multi-city test drives in recent months. “The P7 smart EV sports sedan offers an unrivaled combination of elegance, style, and comfort with cutting-edge autonomous vehicle and electric vehicle technology, to deliver an unparalleled driving experience.”
The company says it has 190 stores in 67 cities across China and its own high power charging network that currently has 199 charging locations. In addition, customers will have access to more than 200,000 3rd-party chargers throughout the country.
XPeng may not be a household name in America, but it has pretty serious backing from companies like Xiaomi, Alibaba, and Foxconn. Elon Musk has been begging other companies to build a competitive electric car. With the XPeng P7, he may have gotten his wish.