The two hottest Chinese electric vehicle startups, NIO and Xpeng, have each set some new records recently. The companies are growing fast and surely have their sights focused much higher. [Full disclosure: I own shares of both of these companies.]
10,000 Xpeng P7s
To start off, last month, Xpeng produced its 10,000th electric vehicle at its new Zhaoqing Smart Factory. That happened in not even 160 days after the company built the factory, which Xpeng claims is the quickest a Chinese electric vehicle startup has hit that mark.
“The completion of 10,000 P7s reinforces XPeng’s position as a leading smart EV brand, demonstrating its strong capability in supply chain management, smart manufacturing and quality control, Chairman He Xiaopeng said,” Xpeng noted in a press release.
“At 706km NEDC, the rear-wheel drive super-long range version has the longest driving range among production EVs in China. The P7’s in-house designed electric drive system – equipped with the German Infineon 950 IGBT module – provides a maximum motor efficiency of 97.5%. The 110mm height ultra-thin high-performance battery pack reaches 170Wh/kg energy density to deliver close to 81kWh of power with super-low drag coefficient of Cd0.236.” You can read much more about the Xpeng P7 in our in-depth report on the P7.
“The Zhaoqing plant, birthplace of the P7, was built over a period of 15 months. The factory received the official production license from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on May 19 this year and completed the production of 10,000 P7s within 160 days, a record among new EV markers in China.”
Going into Xpeng’s recent IPO in the US, I took a few deep dives into the company. One of my top takeaways was that Xpeng is one of the only companies focused so thoroughly on the “smart tech” side of new electric vehicles. The CEO of the company echoes those points in Xpeng’s news release about the 10,000-P7 milestone: “The Smart EV market in China is at a crossroads, where companies focusing on differentiated products and quality services stand out from the rest, and we see it an irreversible trend,” CEO He Xiaopeng added.
For Xpeng’s take on its young smart electric sedan, here’s your link.
NIO Breaks Monthly Sales Record
NIO was perhaps tipping its hat to Xpeng for the accomplishment just before bragging about its own new record. Xpeng’s October sales, which came to 5,055, set a new monthly sales record for premium Chinese auto brands.
NIO delivered 5,055 vehicles in October, a new monthly record becoming the first premium Chinese brand to deliver over 5,000 vehicles in one month. https://t.co/efV8FRTMN1 #BlueSkyComing pic.twitter.com/6pAlgc7fns
— NIO (@NIOGlobal) November 2, 2020
That 5,055 sales total was up 100.1% compared to October 2019. Overall in 2020, NIO has sold (i.e., delivered) 31,430 vehicles — all electric, of course — which is a 111.4% year over year.
All in all, from the beginning of NIO’s entry into the world until October 31, 2020, the company has sold 63,343 units of the ES8, ES6, and EC6.
Here’s the breakdown by model in October: “The deliveries consisted of 2,695 ES6s, the Company’s 5-seater high-performance premium smart electric SUV, 1,477 ES8s, the Company’s 6-seater and 7-seater flagship premium smart electric SUV, and 883 EC6s, the Company’s 5-seater premium electric coupe SUV.”
As with Xpeng, I recently took a long stroll through the company that is NIO. It’s a fascinating company in several regards, not as deeply focused on software or hardware as Xpeng and NIO are, but quite innovative and successful at setting up a complete, convenient, cool electric vehicle ecosystem, including a vast battery swapping network.
Each of NIO’s vehicles are highly competitive in their classes, and they are almost inarguably attractive, compelling, luxurious electric vehicles with good specs. You can read more about NIO’s first two vehicles in our deep dives on them (or on the company webpages for them):
The newest vehicle, the NIO EC6, is a bit smaller and is probably my favorite NIO. We haven’t done a deep dive on this small SUV/CUV yet, but you can explore its news archives via that link above or you can jump over to NIO’s webpage for it.
Xpeng vs. NIO
While they are both young electric vehicle startups in China, Xpeng and NIO are actually fairly different. Xpeng is manufacturing its new model, the P7, itself in a home-built “smart factory.” NIO outsources production. Xpeng is heavily focused on vertical integration. NIO is not, but it consistently works to advance and promote the full EV ecosystem, including the aforementioned battery swapping system.
I like them both. I could make pro and con arguments for either of them. In the end, though, I think their success (or failure) depends on their executive leadership, culture of efficient and useful innovation, and ability to excite consumers. We’ll see how things play out.