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Tesla Challenger XPeng Inc. Reports a 483% Surge in Year-Over-Year May Deliveries

Tesla Challenger XPeng Inc. Reports a 483% Surge in Year-Over-Year May Deliveries

Author: Eric Walz   

Xpeng Inc., one of Tesla's biggest new competitors in China, continues to post growing EV sales numbers. The company announced its vehicle delivery results for May 2021, which included sales of 5,686 electric vehicles. The monthly total represents a 483% increase in year-over-year sales for the month of May. XPeng's May 2021 sales numbers were also 10% higher than in April.

Xpeng's year-to-date deliveries for 2021 reached 24,173 units, representing a year-over-year increase of 427%.

The May 2021 deliveries included 3,797 P7 sedans, the company's flagship vehicle which launched in April 2020, while the remaining 1,889 electric vehicles were the G3 compact SUV, Xpeng's first EV which debuted in 2018. 

Xpeng also reported brisk 2021 Q1 sales last month. In early May, the company reported record total revenues of RMB2,950.9 million (US$450.4 million) for the first quarter of the year, representing an increase of 616.1% from the same period last year and a 3.5% increase from the fourth quarter of 2020.

XPeng's vehicle deliveries totaled 13,340 units in Q1, representing an increase of 487.4% from 2,271 in the corresponding period of 2020.

"The first quarter kicked off a great start to 2021 with a record-breaking vehicle deliveries notwithstanding seasonally slower demand for automobiles and the semiconductor shortage," said Mr. He Xiaopeng, Chairman and CEO of XPeng in a statement last month after the company posted its Q1 results. "Our strong momentum in the quarter was propelled by our industry-leading full-stack autonomous driving technology, solid differentiated product strategy and our vision to lead Smart EV development and transformation."

Xpeng is among several New Energy Vehicle (NEV) startups in China looking to compete with Tesla in the world's biggest auto market. Others include Xpeng rivals NIO Inc and Li Auto. 

XPeng is targeting tech savvy buyers with its advanced and connected fully-electric vehicles. The company's flagship P7 for example, costs around half the price of a Tesla Model S in China, while still offering a high level of technology, including autonomous driving and self-parking capabilities.

Xpeng's latest autonomous driving feature is called Navigation Guided Pilot (NGP) which is similar to Tesla's Autopilot and its Full Self-Driving (FSD) feature. It was developed entirely in house by Xpeng. Approximately 50% of the company's employees work in R&D, which also includes development of Xpeng's AI-powered smart vehicle OS. 

NGP is tailored specifically for China's roads. It offers high-definition positioning for navigation, which solves HD-map challenges for China's complex and crowded road conditions, even in areas where there is no GPS signal, according to XPeng. 

The P7 is outfitted with 14 cameras, 5 millimeter-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, lidar, centimeter-level high-definition GPS positioning and decimeter-level high-definition mapping for autonomous driving. In total, the P7 uses 31 sensors for autonomous driving functions.

The XPeng P7 sedan also supports over-the-air updates, a technology pioneered by Tesla. The latest versions of the company's XPILOT autonomous driving system was made available to P7 owners via an OTA software update in late January. It's available by purchasing the XPILOT 3.0 software package and upgrading to NGP. In the future, new vehicle and infotainment features like NGP will provide additional revenue streams for XPeng. 

The P7 is the company's first EV powered by the new NVIDIA DRIVE platform, which is one of the world's most powerful compute platforms for self-driving vehicles. It features NVIDIA's high-performance Xavier system-on-a-chip (SoC). 

 XPeng's third electric vehicle named the P5 will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. It's being positioned as a more family-friendly model under the flagship P7 sedan. XPeng unveiled the P5 in April at Auto Shanghai 2021

The P5 will be one of the world's first production vehicles equipped with automotive-grade LiDAR for autonomous driving during assembly.

"The debut of the P5, the world's first mass-produced LiDAR-equipped Smart EV, underlines our mission to shape the mobility experience of the future," said Mr He when the vehicle was unveiled in April.

XPeng is also expanding its sales and service network in China. As of March 31, the company's physical sales and service network included 178 retail stores and 61 service centers, covering 70 cities in China.

Like Tesla's Supercharger network, XPeng is also building out its own EV charging infrastructure. XPeng-branded super charging stations expanded to 172 so far, covering 60 cities in China.

For the second quarter of 2021, XPeng expects deliveries of 15,500 to 16,000 vehicles, representing a year-over-year increase of approximately 380.2% to 395.7%, if that goal is achieved.

XPeng is a publicly traded company in the U.S. and launched its IPO in Aug 2020. The company's shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock symbol "XPEV".

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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