China's Tesla Challenger Xpeng Opens Orders for the New P5 Sedan, the Company's Third EV
Last week, Chinese electric vehicle startup and Tesla challenger XPeng kicked-off the annual Auto Shanghai car show with the debut of the company's new P5. The P5 is Xpeng's third vehicle and is the world's first production smart EV equipped with automotive-grade LiDAR technology for autonomous driving.
Now fresh of the unveiling in China, Xpeng announced it has opened preorders for the P5, with deliveries starting in the fourth quarter of this year.
The P5 follows the launch of the company's P7 sedan last April and the G3 SUV which launched in Dec 2018. Xpeng said the P5 is being positioned as a family-friendly model under its flagship P7 sedan.
Xpeng is the world's first automaker to add lidar to a mass-market vehicle during production. The lidar sensors installed in the P5 during production will support autonomous driving and will significantly improve the vehicle's high-precision object recognition, according to XPeng.
The P5's double-prism lidar sensors can identify pedestrians, cyclists or scooters, static obstacles, and construction zones, even at night and in low-light conditions, such as when traveling in a tunnel.
"Introducing lidar technology into production vehicles is a breakthrough in popularizing autonomous driving, and an endorsement of our in-house R&D process," said Xpeng chairman and CEO He Xiaopeng during a presentation at Auto Guangzhou in Nov 2020. "Our customers will benefit from this premium advanced technology, which makes autonomous driving more driver-friendly, safe and effective."
Like its predecessor the P7 sedan, the P5 will include Nvidia's DRIVE AGX platform, which acts as the "brain" of a self-driving vehicle. The Nvidia DRIVE AGX platform supports Xpeng's highway autonomous driving systems called "Navigation Guided Pilot" (NGP).
Xpeng's NGP autonomous driving feature is powered by Nvidia's DRIVE high-performance Xavier system-on-a-chip (SoC), which is one of the world's most powerful processors for self-driving vehicles. It delivers 30 TOPS (30 trillion operations per second) of compute performance to support the P5's autonomous driving features.
The P5 builds on the previous models not only in its autonomous driving functionality, but also in its third-generation tech-enabled smart cockpit features.
"We persist in exploring because we are convinced that technology will enrich our lifestyles and bring about a great mobility transformation," Chairman and CEO Mr. He Xiaopeng said at the press conference. "We believe in the future of autonomous driving, and remain committed to it. Transportation has immense influence on our daily lives and technology is empowering our life choices and propelling a fundamental revolution in mobility."
Xpeng is emerging as a strong challenger to Tesla in China. The company's electric vehicles come with the same level of technology for about half the price of a comparable Tesla in China.
While Xpeng's flagship P7 sedan is positioned to be an alternative to the more expensive Tesla Model S, the P5 is poised to be a strong competitor to Tesla's Model 3 and Model Y crossover in China.
Earlier this month, Xpeng announced that it entered into a cooperation agreement with the City of Wuhan to build a new Smart EV factory. The EV factory will be Xpeng's second production facility and will have an annual capacity of 100,000 vehicles, which will help Xpeng better compete in the China market.
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