Chinese Electric Vehicle Startup Xpeng Motors in Talks for Another $300 Million in New Funding, Sources Say
Xpeng Motors is emerging as one of China's hottest new electric vehicle startups. Earlier this month, the company announced a $500 million funding round. Now Xpeng is in talks to raise another $300 million, sources told Reuters. CNBC also reported the news on Friday.
Participating in the latest funding round is Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, people familiar with the matter said. Qatar's sovereign wealth fund is one of the world's biggest wealth funds, with roughly $300 billion in assets under management.
We reached out to Xpeng Motors on Friday for comment and have not heard back.
Xpeng, founded in 2014, secured $400 million in a funding round in Nov 2019. The new $300 million funding round will equal $1.2 billion that Xpeng raised since November, as the electric carmaker looks to compete with Tesla in China, the world's biggest auto market.
The new funds will go towards research in areas such as intelligent vehicle technologies, the sources told Reuters, without giving any further details.
In April, Xpeng Motors began deliveries of its new, fully-electric flagship P7 sedan in China. It's the company's second electric vehicle. The P7, which Xpeng calls a "smart sedan", is a strong competitor to the Tesla Model S and Model 3 in China. The vehicle achieves an NEDC Range of 439 Miles, the longest of all EVs sold in China.
Xpeng partnered with Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL) to develop the P7's prismatic (pouch cell) lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NCM) battery cells. The ultra-thin battery pack is only 110mm in height, reaching 170Wh/kg energy density while delivering 80kWh of power.
The P7 sedan follows Xpeng's first electric vehicle the G3 compact SUV, which launched in Dec 2018.
Unlike Tesla's vehicles, which sell at a premium in China, Xpeng is targeting younger, tech-savvy buyers its its more affordable, yet highly advanced electric vehicles. The automaker says it's offering the same level of technology, connectivity features and performance in the P7 for around $50,000 less than the Tesla Model S.
Xpeng is also working on its own advanced autonomous driving system called "XPilot" that will offer hands-free driving. All of the automaker's autonomous driving development is done in-house, so the company maintains control over the entire software stack, including the vehicle's OS, infotainment system and automated driving features.
Xpeng's XPilot automated driving functions were specifically developed for China's unique road conditions, with automated features adapted for China's crowded urban roadways, including a unique "low speed follow function", which reduces the chances of aggressive drivers cutting in front of the vehicle in traffic.
XPilot also supports self-parking, which is a popular feature for car buyers in China, the company said.
Government support for new energy vehicles (NEVs) in China has led to a new crop of NEV startups like Xpeng Motors emerging to challenge Tesla. Others include NIO and Li Auto, which just raised $1.2 billion in its U.S. IPO this week.
With significant new funding, Xpeng is poised to become one of the leading electric vehicle manufacturers in China. The company is also backed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
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