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XPeng G6 — Wicked New Electric, Intelligent SUV For $29,000

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It used to be “The US gets all the good stuff.” Increasingly, it feels like “China gets all the good stuff.” The news this week is that China’s getting a wicked compelling, competitive new electric coupe SUV — the XPeng G6. This is “the first production model built under its next-generation vehicle technology architecture SEPA 2.0.” Funny enough, the US doesn’t even get the official video about the G6 as quickly as China — we’re getting it a day later. (Though, it seems that is due to the fact that they added English dubbing — instead of subtitles — to the video of the launch presentation.) Now that it’s been published for an English audience, let’s dive in!

Of course, the XPeng G6 unveiling event happened in China because that’s where the G6 is sold. It’ll eventually make its way to Europe too, presumably, but it’s not even certain the electric coupe SUV will ever make it to the USA. However, noteworthy is that right at the beginning of the presentation, XPeng Chairman and CEO He Xiaopeng said, “During every new product debut, I always want to remind you about our motivation and our vision. We are different from our peers in a sense that we are very new and we keep reminding ourselves of why we are here and how we built our differentiation. We want to serve the whole world using technology and innovation, and our vision has always been to disrupt the market, and also to explore future innovation.” So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

“We have witnessed a lot of creations — for example, airplanes, cars — they have changed our lives for good. However, with so many innovations and creations, we still haven’t seen enough Chinese companies that are dedicated to mobility innovation. That is one of the key reasons why we want to be different from our peers, and that is why we really focus on technology and innovation. We never position ourselves as a regional company, and we’re not confined to regional products or services, and we aim to build high-quality and unique cars.” So you’re really telling me there’s a chance!

Well, anyway, let’s get on to the G6 and hope it gets to the United States one day.

The G6 is XPeng’s first model based on its new SEPA2.0 technology architecture. In his presentation, He Xiaopeng compared this to Apple launching the iPhone 4 in 2010. After a lot of discussion around EV buyers’ desires and intelligent automobiles, he said, “G6 is expected to be the benchmark of the next generation of smart NEVs. And we believe a lot of future cars are going to benchmark G6 in regards to the overall capabilities, the value that we bring to the customers, and also the experience and intelligence-assisted driving capabilities that we have incorporated in G6.” Before even unveiling the car, XPeng got 35,000+ pre-orders for the G6 in recent weeks.

He Xiaopeng notes that the G6’s design is based on a water droplet, an interesting and beautiful inspiration. It also includes a new “roboface” or “robot face.” He also references a “lightsaber” in the headlight design. Have a closer look:

The car has an ultra-low drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.248, which will help the car to maximize it’s battery’s juice for longer driving range. The car includes 17 different features to maximize Cd.

From the company’s press release about the car, XPeng states, “Developed in consultation with Sci-Fi writer Liu Cixin, the G6’s body design boasts sleek lines derived from tech-fluid aesthetics. Furthermore, the G6’s suspended roof design, coupled with its long 2890mm wheelbase and 60.8% axial length ratio, offer abundant headroom and spacious rear seats. This design perfectly balances the coupe’s sleek fastback styling with consumer demand for a spacious cabin, ensuring bountiful comfort and space.”

In the presentation, He Xiaopeng notes that because the interior space was maximized by the company so well, it feels more like a larger SUV inside than it technically is. In particular, he highlights to good headroom in the G6, after throwing some shade at other sport SUVs and sedans for missing a beat here. It achieves good headroom in the back via CIB battery-body integration as well as a “suspended roof.”

They also highlight the superior legroom in the back seat of the G6 compared to top competitors.

Naturally, the G6 is also super quick. It can go from 0–100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds (or 5.9 seconds if you get the single-motor version instead of the dual-motor version. They also explain in the presentation technical details of why the car’s handling is great — but that stuff is not particularly interesting to me. (Watch the video if you want every detail.)

After the explanation of why the G6’s handling is better than a million-dollar sports car’s, some very important (but very boring) stuff on safety, and some very important (but very boring) stuff on efficiency, He Xiaopeng notes that when tested in Norway along with many other EVs, XPeng’s G9 and P7 exceeded their range ratings whereas all other competing EVs underperformed in this category except for the Mercedes EQE SUV, which was right on the mark. Additionally, the G9 offered the most range of them all — 588 km (365 miles).

The XPeng G9 also offered the quickest charging according to this independent test.

XPeng then takes us to the tech — the company’s real pride and joy. Earlier in the presentation XPeng Chairman and CEO He Xiaopeng said, “In 2021, we debuted the industry’s first mass-produced car model with lidars, and we developed the industry’s first ADAS for urban driving in China, and last year we also produced China’s first 800-volt ultrafast charging technology, we debuted China’s first BEV plus transformer-based deep visual neural network, we kept leading in innovation.” Now we get to what it’s done more recently with the G6 and its underlying architecture.

After leading the country in autonomous parking and autonomous highway driving, XPeng brought to market the industry’s first ADAS for city driving in China, also using “the industry’s first mass produced visual-only memory parking function.” (As far as I’ve seen, XPeng still offers the best autoparking on the market. That was last year. In 2023, XPeng has introduced its City GNP (its version of Tesla Full Self Driving, but better) to Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou. Those four cities are home to  21.5 million, 26.3 million, 12.6 million, and 15.3 million people, respectively. That’s 75.7 million people combined. That’s more than the populations of all but 19 countries in the world, and it’s coming to more Chinese cities soon.

XPeng plans to roll out XNGP to ~50 cities in 2023 and ~200 in 2024. It is achieving this mass rollout by eliminating reliance on high-definition maps.

He Xiaopeng notes that he thinks XPeng is leading competitors in China by 12–36 months on this topic.

Not using HD maps, XPeng will roll out AI Valet Driver mode in the second half of this year. Among other things, the AI Valet Driver will actually learn some of your own driving habits! Now we’re getting to serious AI driver education and self-driving.

“The AI driver can actually learn from your driving habits from home to the company, and they can actually pick up your route and navigation, and they also allow you to have multiple customized routes as well. You can automatically train them, store it, and also you can share your offline strategies with your friends.”

No other automaker in the world is offering something like this.

Interestingly, City GNP has been used for 62% of XPeng driving in those four cities where it’s been deployed.

He Xiaopeng also discussed something I never see discussed with this kind of tech — not from Tesla or anyone else. That’s how efficiently their self-driving system drives compared to an efficient driver. Xiaopeng presents City NGP as being 90% as efficient, which is quite good but, he notes, provides room for improvement. The transparency and commitment to improvement are refreshing. Furthermore, its Highway NPG tech has gotten quicker than a normal driver.

Weekly penetration of XNGP has reached nearly 95%. That means 95% of XPeng drivers are using its semi-autonomous driving tech at least once a week.

Pricing for the XPeng G6 ranges from 209,900 RMB ($28,937) to 276,900 RMB ($38,174). Deliveries begin in July 2023.

Frankly, after watching the presentation and based on what I’ve learned about XPeng tech in the past several years, I don’t see a better EV for the money on the market, and it would be the top of my list for a new electric car if I lived in China … or if XPeng brought it to the USA (hint, hint).

All images courtesy of XPeng (mostly screenshots of the G6 unveiling presentation).

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Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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