Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng unveils P7 four-door coupe at Auto Shanghai 2019, months after SUV roll out

Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng unveiled the P7 four-door coupe, its second mass-market model in four months, at Auto Shanghai 2019 on Tuesday. It will start deliveries from the second quarter of 2020 and will announce a price later.

“With P7, we are targeting the new generation of China … Xpeng Motors’ unique differentiation is its vision and corporate DNA,” said He Xiaopeng, the company’s founder and chairman. Brian Gu, a veteran JPMorgan investment banker and chairman of its Asia-Pacific investment banking operation, joined Xpeng as a vice-president and president to lead its global expansion drive, in early March.

The P7 follows the G3, Xpeng’s first model, an SUV, which went on sale in mid December at a starting price of 135,800 yuan (US$20,243) after government subsidy. The company delivered 1,500 units in the first quarter and aims to sell 10,000 G3s by July end, and 40,000 by year end.

Xpeng’s second offering comes at a time when Beijing is significantly cutting subsidies on electric vehicles. For electric cars with a driving cycle of and above 400km, the subsidy will be slashed by half to 25,000 yuan from June 25. Analysts expect these subsidies to be slashed further, or even removed entirely.

The P7 also represents a crucial step in Xpeng’s growth plan, as it wraps up a B+ funding round. In all, the Guangzhou-based carmaker has raised US$170 million from investors that include Foxcon, IDG Capital and this newspaper’s owner, Alibaba Group Holding. He said on Tuesday the company was on target to raise 30 billion yuan by the end of this year.

Elsewhere, construction on its factory in Zhaoqing, in China’s southern Guangdong province, is on schedule. Xpeng expects to start manufacturing activity here by September this year. It currently contracts production to Haima Automobile Group in Zhengzhou, in China’s central Henan province.

“Capital and talent are vital to newcomers in the auto industry. So far, none of the Chinese players have realised mass production like Tesla. The leader, NIO, delivered more than 10,000 last year, still far behind Tesla’s more than 200,000 units globally. But NIO and Xpeng are making steady progress,” said Lu Yan, analyst with auto consultancy Gasgoo.

The P7’s driver-assistance system is tailored for China’s roads and has features adapted to its often congested cities, as well as cruise control and automatic parking in often used parking spaces. The car uses NVIDIA DRIVE Xavier, an advanced system-on-a-chip for autonomous driving, and Qualcomm’s automotive processor, the Qualcomm SnapdragonTM 820A.

It also boasts a dual-motor four-wheel drive and can accelerate to 100km/h in four seconds. Its New European Driving Cycle, a drive range standard, stands at about 600km.

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