Model 3 is the best seller Tesla and this is also a reality in the world’s largest market for electric vehicles, China. The American saloon is produced locally, at Shanghai’s Gigafactory, and is selling well to the East, but will face competition from a Chinese “clone”. This is the P7, whose deliveries to customers will start soon.
The Model 3 rival is the result of the “work” of Xpeng Motors, a startup that was launched in 2014 and which has the investment of giants such as the Alibaba Group and Xiaomi. However, despite the investors’ suit, the company started to be talked about not for the best reasons, having been accused of copying Tesla’s autonomous driving system. The American brand filed a lawsuit against Xpeng Motors, accusing it of having stolen the Autopilot source code to create its XPilot, which, coincidentally, even does what Tesla calls Autopilot navigation. But the source of “inspiration” didn’t stop there, with the configurator online from the manufacturer of Palo Alto to also serve as a “reference” for Xpeng Motors.
It turns out that, despite having triggered these two controversies, Xpeng Motors did not stop there in the “bonding” to its North American rival. Proving it is the P7, whose similarities with the Model 3 – from aesthetics to the solutions offered – are evident. The five-seater electric sedan has sporty aspirations, particularly in the 4WD High Performance version which, as the name implies, offers four-wheel drive and announces 0 to 100 km / h in 4.3 seconds, being driven by two synchronous engines of permanent magnet, one on each axis. The front one delivers 120 kW (163 hp) and the rear 196 kW (266 hp) with a maximum torque of 655 Nm.
Powering them is a battery of 80.9 kWh in capacity, which gives it a range of 562 km between recharges. If you are impressed by the scope of this version, know that there is another one that can do even better: the Super Long Range. In this case, the P7 mounts only the rear engine (196 kW and 390 Nm), starts to fulfill the acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h in 6.7 seconds, but it only needs to refill the battery after traveling 706 km. There is also an entry version, also rear-wheel drive and creatively called RWD Long Range, which announces 586 km of autonomy.
The autonomies claimed by P7 would be to put the Model 3 in direction, were it not the case of being calculated according to the old and outdated NEDC cycle, a method that, being out of step with reality, was replaced by WTLP. Even so, making the adjustment to the current European protocol, the P7 should allow 530 km between recharges in the Super Long Range version; 440 km on the RWD Long Range and only 420 km on the 4WD High Performance. In other words, it is only below the threshold imposed by the Model 3 in the Tesla Long Range version (560 km in WLTP), with the advantage of attracting by the price: the entry version starts at € 28,880 (229,900 yuan renmimbi), the highest reach costs 32,164 € (254,900 yuan) and the most powerful requires 42,890 € (339,900 yuan).
Remember that Tesla sells its substantially cheaper models in China – mounting less efficient, cheaper and less autonomous batteries – with its “Standard Upgrade Life”, with 450 km of autonomy (according to the Chinese system, close to NEDC ), for 271,550 yuan, about € 34,207, and then the “Long Endurance Edition” will be offered for 344,050 yuan, about € 43,340 and the “Performance” will be on sale for 419,800 yuan, approximately € 52,882.
With these prices and given that the Chinese do not value autonomy as much as the Europeans, the smallest Tesla will face a strong opponent that, moreover, plays with the similarities to reinforce its commercial “appeal”. Besides being able to count on hardware for XPilot 3.0, in another inspirational feature, the P7 has sentinel mode and makes updates over-the-air (OTA) for the entire vehicle and not just for the infotainment system as with most traditional car manufacturers.
Xpeng Motors’ “Gigafactory”
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Unlike other startups, which have to partner with manufacturers already established in the Chinese market to be able to produce vehicles in the factories that already exist, such as Nio, for example, Xpeng Motors has obtained a license to manufacture cars.
The new factory, from which the P7 will leave, was inaugurated on the 11th and is located about 110 kilometers northwest of Guangzhou, in Zhaoqing. It was built in just 15 months, occupies an area of 2 km2 and is highly automated. The 600 employees who operate there are joined by 264 “intelligent” industrial robots.
All these advantages, “inherited” from Tesla, will have led the Chinese manufacturer, based in Guangzhou, to consider the possibility of launching an initial public offering (IPO, Initial Public Offering) On the US stock exchange. The goal, as advanced by the South China Morning Post, would be to raise $ 500 million, but the news has so far not received any official confirmation. Last year, Xpeng raised another $ 400 million in new financing.