VE Xpeng Newcomer Expands Beyond China – TechCrunch

Like Nio, Chinese electric car maker Xpeng has launched its international expansion. But unlike his rival, who staged a series of dazzling campaigns in Norway, Xpeng made a low-profile launch into the Scandinavian country last month.

In Norway, Xpeng has started shipping its G3 SUVs and P7 sedans. The Chinese electric vehicle startup aims to penetrate more European markets in 2022, a spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch.

Xpeng has kept a low profile with its overseas expansion, presumably because it was waiting to launch its first “international” model, the G9 SUV which has seen the light of day today.

“G9 is our first model to be designed and developed from scratch for the international and Chinese markets, bringing our most sophisticated designs to our customers around the world,” said company co-founder and president Henry Xia during of an auto show on Friday. .

The SUV is Xpeng’s fourth production model and will be the first to feature the automaker’s latest advanced driver assistance system. ADAS, called Xpilot 4.0, is designed for city driving, as Xpeng explained on its Tech Day last month. Incorporating Xpilot 4.0 into a passenger car is ambitious, as the version aims to help everything from “starting the vehicle to parking”, a big step forward towards fully autonomous driving.

Xpilot 4.0’s computing power comes from two units of the Nvidia Orin-X system-on-chip. Its hardware includes a mix of cameras, lidar, millimeter wave radar, and a 3D visual perception network.

In other words, G9 will be overlaid with sensors. But Xpeng tries to keep them discreet. Its dual lidar units, for example, were integrated into the headlights. Lidar has traditionally been too expensive for production cars, but Xpeng and others in the industry are working to make detection technology affordable.

G9 won’t launch in China until the third quarter of 2022, according to a person familiar with the matter, so European customers likely won’t be able to test drive the SUV until 2023.

In the meantime, Xpeng has a lot of work to do before its highly autonomous passenger cars are ready to ship internationally. It will need to set up charging networks in its target markets, a process subject to COVID-related disruptions. Xpilot also relies on high-definition mapping, so the Chinese firm will likely have to team up with local navigation providers.

Xpeng can also be questioned by local governments regarding the safety of its smart cars. Governments around the world vary in their attitude to driving range, and episodes of collisions involving Tesla’s ADAS have only heightened their skepticism about the technology’s readiness.

Xpeng has done some preparation in this regard. For example, it will test drivers and give them a safety score before letting them activate Xpilot. The integrated monitoring system of its vehicles will also continue to monitor drivers and may revoke access to Xpilot if it determines that a driver is acting irresponsibly.

Other specifications

The G9 is compatible with Xpeng’s “compressors”, high-voltage, mass-produced 800 V SiC (silicon carbide), capable of charging a car up to 200 km of range in five minutes.

The SUV comes with a “fault detection” system that can identify the location of the fault after a breakdown. The system will then display the service center with the available inventory as well as the estimated repair time and cost.

Finally, the G9 utilizes the Gigabit Ethernet communications architecture, which “improves communications and support” for next-level autonomous driving, intelligent cockpits, and OTA upgrades.

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