China’s emerging EV maker Xpeng expands overseas, aiming for many European markets with Norway as a foothold | Today Nation News

TechnologyChina's emerging EV maker Xpeng expands overseas, aiming for...

Like Nio, Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng has also begun overseas expansion. However, unlike its rivals, which had a flashy campaign in Norway, Xpeng started quietly in the Scandinavian country in October 2021.

The company has begun shipping the SUV “G3” and sedan “P7” in Norway. A spokeswoman for the company told TechCrunch that it aims to enter more European markets in 2022.

Xpeng’s modest overseas expansion is probably due to its wait for the launch of its first “international” model, the SUV “G9,” announced on November 18.

“The G9 is our first model to be developed from the ground up for both the international and Chinese markets, delivering our most sophisticated designs to customers around the world.” Henry Xia, co-founder and president of the company, said at a car show on November 19th.

The SUV is Xpeng’s fourth production model and the first to be equipped with the company’s latest Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Called Xpilot 4.0, this ADAS is designed for urban driving, as Xpeng explained at Tech Day in October 2021. Installing Xpilot 4.0 in passenger cars is ambitious and aims to help “from vehicle start to parking” to approach fully autonomous driving.

The computing power of Xpilot 4.0 consists of two NVIDIA Orin-X system-on-the-chip units. The hardware includes cameras, riders, millimeter-wave radar, and a 3D visual recognition network.

In other words, the G9 has multiple layers of sensors. But Xpeng makes them unobtrusive. For example, the dual rider unit is built into the headlights. Traditionally, riders have been expensive for mass-produced vehicles, but Xpeng and industry insiders are working to make sensor technology affordable.

According to someone familiar with the matter, the G9 will be available in China in the third quarter of 2022, so European customers are likely to be able to try SUVs after 2023.

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On the other hand, Xpeng has many challenges to enable the international expansion of highly autonomous passenger cars. The company needs to build a charging network in its targeted market, but this process tends to be interrupted by the new coronavirus infection. Also, since Xpilot relies on high-definition maps, it will probably need to work with navigation companies in China.

Xpeng may also be questioned by governments about the safety of smart cars. Governments have different attitudes towards autonomous driving, and the collision involving Tesla‘s ADAS has heightened skepticism about whether the technology is ready.

Xpeng is making some preparations in this regard. For example, before letting a driver launch Xpilot, he decides to test the driver and give it a safety score. In addition, if the monitoring system installed in the vehicle examines the driver and determines that the driver is acting irresponsibly, access to Xpilot may be revoked.

Other specifications

The G9 is compatible with Xpeng’s “supercharger”. This supercharger is a 800V high-voltage mass-produced SiC (silicon carbide) that can charge up to 200km in less than 5 minutes.

In addition, the G9 is equipped with a “fault detection” system that can identify the location of a failure. The system then displays in-stock service centers and provides estimates of repair times and costs.

Finally, the G9 uses a Gigabit Ethernet communication architecture to “improve communication and support” for higher levels of autonomous driving, smart cockpits, and OTA upgrades.

Image credit: Xpeng’s G3

[To the original text]

(Sentence: Rita Liao, Translation:saurabh


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