August 27th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan
As Xpeng approached its initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which was earlier today, I started digging into the company more. I had already gotten a bit interested in the company due to Jose Pontes highlighting it in one of his monthly reports on EV sales in China — the month that the P7 hit the market — and then I got more interested from some comments I saw under CleanTechnica.TV videos regarding its self-parking abilities.
As I dug in, what impressed me the most was that Xpeng appears to be a deep-tech EV startup that is in-housing more of that than any company other than Tesla. At least, that’s my reading of it. I’m certainly not saying it’s on Tesla’s level — just that I can’t think of another automaker that is as focused on doing the fundamental tech innovation internally while building “smart EVs” (computers with auto bodies built around them). I am not a hardware or software engineer, however, so I encourage you to explore the tech yourself and explore other opinions.
Xpeng’s first vehicle was the G3, a small crossover/SUV. This article is about the aforementioned P7. What does this quite affordable electric sedan bring to the market?
I’ll explore many of the features and specs down below. If you want to see even more details than what I’m showing here, you can visit the P7 configuration page. Prices range from 229,900 RMB ($33,396) to 349,900 RMB ($50,828) following the automatic government subsidy.
Two quick notes before we dive in: 1) whereas G3 production was outsourced, Xpeng manufactures the P7 itself in what it calls a “smart factory;” 2) we got to test drive a P7 this week, the only one currently on US soil — check that out of you want an American’s take on what the car is like.
Xpeng P7 vs. G3
I wouldn’t actually compare the two Xpeng vehicles, but I noticed a comparison of their basic specs in the SEC filing Xpeng submitted for the IPO, which offers a concise explanation of what’s different about them. Here it is:
As you can see, the P7 “sports sedan” is longer, is much quicker, has more battery capacity, has considerably more range, and is more expensive than the G3 “SUV.”
It’s an interesting juxtaposition. Normally, a brand’s SUVs are more expensive than its sedans. However, you can see that one key thing that has happened here is Xpeng has moved to bigger batteries for more range and also decided to make the P7 considerably quicker than the G3. More range and more power means a higher price.
Let’s look more closely, and let’s look at how the P7 compares to other models — the Tesla Model 3, BYD Han, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz EQC, and BMW iX3.
Xpeng P7 Infotainment
Jump into what I think is the most compelling aspect of the P7, and Xpeng’s vehicles in general, let’s first look at infotainment.
All Xpeng P7 cars come with:
- 4G Wi-Fi
- 14.96-inch “2K+” touchscreen
- 10.25-inch HD Liquid Crystal Intelligent Instrument Panel
- in-car Bluetooth 4.0
- “financial-grade information security”
- 128 GB of storage
- in-car games
- app stores
- “online content services” (CleanTechnica?)
- AI Voice Assistant.
Can you think of any other cars that offer such a platter?
Xpeng P7 Range
There are three different powertrain options and three different trims for the P7. Below is what they offer in terms of range, organized by powertrain option. Note, though, that all of these figures are based on the NEDC rating system, which is overly optimistic. Cutting off about 30% might make them close to what the EPA-rated range would be, but that’s just a guesstimate — we don’t actually know what the range ratings would be.
RWD Long Range
- All trims — 586 km / 364 miles
RWD Super-Long Range
- Standard — 706 km / 439 miles
- Smart — 670 km / 416 miles
- Premium — 670 km / 416 miles
AWD High Performance
- All trims — 562 km / 349 miles
Xpeng P7 Acceleration
This sports sedan is quick. It’s not a Tesla Model S P100D, but the high-performance option will throw you back in your seat, and the other options will be plenty quick for a normal, sane person. Secure the coffee cup before launching. The 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) figures are as follows:
RWD Long Range
RWD Super-Long Range
AWD High Performance
XPilot Hardware & Software
As with seemingly every good new EV, considerable driver-assist features are an option. XPilot is basically akin to Tesla Autpilot. I have not yet had the chance to test it to see how the two compare. Xpeng proudly claims that it develops this in-house. Tesla filed a lawsuit claiming that a former Xpeng employee who worked at Tesla stole a version of its Autopilot source code and provided it to Xpeng. Xpeng has claimed that XPilot was developed before that person was even hired and that there is nothin behind the lawsuit, at least as it concerns Xpeng. The former employee named in the lawsuit ended up only being in the job for a month, perhaps because of the lawsuit. I am not in a position to evaluate (or even see) the evidence, so I am leaving it to a court to decide.
XPilot has evolved a few times since its launch. The current version, XPilot 3.0, may be the first semi-autonomous driving system to run on Nvidia’s Xavier supercomputing platform. The full software stack on top of that is developed by Xpeng, the company told CleanTechnica.
The base P7 trim does not include XPilot, the “Smart” trim includes XPilot 2.5, and the “Premium” trim includes XPilot 3.0.
Here are more details on how the trims vary in terms of XPilot hardware, such as cameras, sensors, and radar:
What does that translate into in terms of the driver’s autonomous driving features?
The Smart and Premium trims have automatic lane centering, automatic lane change, adaptive cruise control, smart parking, an automatic driving simulation display, and a bunch of automatic collision prevention. The Standard trim doesn’t have any of that, only traditional cruise control.
Regarding the “active safety” features, I’m not sure what all of these acronyms mean, but this is what you get:
Also, with those two higher-end trims, you get “360° Full Vision Parking Assistance,” whereas the Standard trim gets a rearview camera with parking assistance.
Xtra Xpeng Features
All Xpeng cars can get over-the-air software updates, something that sets Xpeng’s vehicles apart from all other autos on the market except for Tesla’s vehicles. They also all have access to Xpeng’s Supercharger network, AI Voice Assistant, Smart Navigation, and Meditation Mode.
The Smart and Premium trims include wireless phone charging, 3 USB charging ports, and 1 data port. The Standard trim just has 1 USB charging port and 1 data port.
Those two higher trims also include “Sentinel Mode,” which I think is the same as Tesla Sentry Mode.
In terms of the sound system, the Smart and Premium trims offer:
- Dynaudio Concert-hall Style Sound System (Imported 18 speakers, 7.1.2 soundtrack, DTS:X immersive sound effect technology) as an option — comes with the “Smart Music Cockpit Kit”
- Xpeng Advanced Surround Sound System (8 speakers)
- Full-cabin Music Surround Sound Control
- Surround Rhythmic Ambient Lights
In terms of air purification, the top two trims get the “Xfreebreath Intelligent Air Purification System (PM2.5 detection and purification / plasma purification and sterilization / External tail gas monitoring / self-drying and mildew proof).”
And it’s got two things that will ruin you for life: keyless door opening (which also turns on the car) and automatic door lock after exiting. In other words, you don’t need to think about locking or unlocking your car — ever — and you don’t even have to think about turning your car on or off.
Xpeng P7 vs. Competitors
The Xpeng P7’s top competitors are gasoline vehicles. However, Xpeng put it up against the Tesla Model 3, BYD Han, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz EQC, and BMW iX3 in the SEC filing. Nonetheless, it mapped out the specs of the P7 versus several top luxury EVs:
Impressive comparison table.
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