Update: ‘Xpeng developing new platforms’ and ‘XPILOT 4.0’ sections updated.
Buoyed by the success of the Xpeng P7, Xpeng Motors plans to launch more premium EVs. The company is planning at least three such products, executives revealed during its Q2 2021 earnings conference call in August 2021.
During last year’s conference call, He Xiaopeng, Co-Founder and CEO of Xpeng Motors, said that the company could launch products above the Xpeng P7, which outsold the Audi A4 in China in July 2021. On 18 November 2021, the company unveiled the Xpeng G9 as its new flagship model. That was probably one of the models Xiaopeng was referring to earlier.
Last month, delivery of P7 actually surpassed that of Audi A4. So that says a lot about our capability of entering the premium market. In the future, we target the even higher price range, at about RMB 400,000 to RMB 500,000 (USD 63,000 to USD 79,000) even.He Xiaopeng, Co-Founder and CEO, Xpeng Motors (Q2 2021 earnings conference call, August 2021)
Xpeng developing two new platforms
The G9 is Xpeng Motors’ fourth model, and it’s an SUV inspired by the P7, with which it shares the company’s Edward platform. During the Q2 2021 earnings conference call, Brian Gu, Vice Chairman and President, Xpeng Motors, talked about the company’s upcoming products after this SUV. He said that the fifth and sixth Xpeng EV models would sit on a new platform developed for mid- to high-end products and both left-hand drive and right-hand drive markets.
In addition to the G3, the P7 and P5, we will have a new platform that will have both the right-hand and left-hand driving capability target at both domestic and international markets will be a very large volume driver.Brian Gu, Vice Chairman and President, Xpeng Motors (Q2 2021 earnings conference call, August 2021)
During the Q4 2021 earnings conference call on March 28, 2022, Xiaopeng said that the company plans to launch the first two models based on the new platforms in 2023. One is for B-segment cars and the other for C-Segment cars, both compatible with XPILOT 4.0.
The new premium Xpeng EV models will support XPILOT 3.0 or above. Xpeng Motors plans to roll out the XPILOT 3.5 software and then the 4.0 software in 2023.
XPILOT 3.5 provides the Navigation Guided Pilot (NGP) function in a number of cities and some urban roads, but its scope is limited compared to XPILOT 4.0. XPILOT 4.0 is likely to enable autonomous driving in more places, not just in China but also in Europe. Moreover, XPILOT 4.0 is technically more advanced and has stronger computing power, so its sensing capability is better. The G9 is confirmed to get 4.0.
During the Q4 2021 earnings conference call, Xiaopeng said that the 4.0 version of XPILOT will feature a more comprehensive set of use scenarios and its scope of coverage geographically will be wider. It “will boast a clear next-generation leap” over other mass-produced ADAS, the founder added.
Xpeng Motors is yet to roll out XPILOT 3.0 widely, and it plans to do that in the second half of the year. Once complete, it will start exploring the robotaxi business. The Chinese startup is considering modifying its mass-produced models for this venture instead of developing new cars. It expects the monthly usage of its robotaxis to be 8,000-10,000 km on average.
Xpeng Motors will expand its R&D team working on autonomous driving technology, navigation for international markets, and hardware. Its R&D headcount by the end of Q3 2021 was over 3,000 employees. It planned to increase that number to 4,500 by Q4 2021.
The Xpeng G9, and maybe the fifth and sixth Xpeng EVs that are to follow it could have a low-end battery pack option with LFP cells in addition to premium battery pack options with NMC cells. More than 20% of the G3 and P7 models are sold in the LFP configurations.
With the growing supply of LFP cells, we’re confident with the increasing proportion of LFP models among our deliveries in the future.He Xiaopeng, Co-Founder and CEO, Xpeng Motors (Q2 2021 earnings conference call, August 2021)
The Xpeng G9 is the brand’s first and China’s first EV with a system voltage of 800 volts. It can take advantage of ultra-fast/rapid charging chargers where customers don’t have to wait for more than a few minutes to charge their vehicle.“For G9 and other future models, we are going to adopt the 800-volt, high-voltage charging,” Xiaopeng said during the Q3 earnings conference call held on 23 November 2021.
Introducing the G9, Xpeng Motors had said that the company is rolling out lightweight 480 kW high-voltage supercharging piles with a flow rate capacity of more than 670 amperes. Regarding that aspect, below is what Xiaopeng said during the Q3 earnings conference call:
So for our current charging piles, we are going to upgrade them to — I mean in the future to 360 kilowatt and also in the future, 480 kilowatts. And so as we lay out our deployment of supercharging stations, we are going — I mean, the newer ones, we’re going to take the high-voltage charging facilities, such as 380 kilowatts and 480 kilowatts, for sure.He Xiaopeng, Co-Founder and CEO, Xpeng Motors (Q3 2021 earnings conference call, November 2021)
Xpeng eyes RHD markets
With its upcoming new premium models, especially the fifth and sixth products ready for RHD markets, Xpeng Motors will likely expand its footprint globally rapidly. Already present in Norway, Xpeng Motors could enter more European markets this year. UK is the biggest RHD market in the region, whereas Australia and New Zealand also witnessed a few EV launches in 2021.
Our target is to prepare ourselves for the overseas market in both left- and right-hand drive countries within the three years’ time of 2020 to 2022, and accelerate our penetration into international markets with our upcoming Smart EV models equipped with XPILOT 4.0 starting from 2023.He Xiaopeng, Co-Founder and CEO, Xpeng Motors (Q2 2021 earnings conference call, August 2021)
During the Q3 2021 earnings conference call, Xiaopeng said that, in the future, the company would develop new models keeping in mind not only the domestic market but also European countries. The G9 SUV is the first of that type, and the initial step to becoming a truly global brand.
From 2021 to 2025, we are going to conceive and develop models that are suitable for not just the Chinese market, but for the international market in the sense that we are going to comply with all the safety regulations and environmental regulations to the highest standards in the European market, as well as the global market, in general.He Xiaopeng, Co-Founder and CEO, Xpeng Motors (Q3 2021 earnings conference call, November 2021)
Featured Image Source: Xpeng Motors