XPeng Unveils its New NVIDIA-Powered G9 Electric Flagship SUV, the Company's 4th Model

XPeng Unveils its New NVIDIA-Powered G9 Electric Flagship SUV, the Company's 4th Model

Author: Eric Walz   

Electric vehicle startup XPeng Inc. unveiled its fourth electric vehicle, the flagship G9 SUV, at the 19th Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition. The G9 is one of the most advanced electric vehicles designed by Xpeng.

The new battery-powered G9, which on the outside looks like a typical full-size luxury SUV, was conceived and designed from the outset for both domestic Chinese and international markets as Xpeng continues its expansion outside of its home country of China, as its looks to take on Tesla.

The G9 is XPeng's first full-size electric SUV. The smaller G3 SUV was Xpeng's first EV, which launched in 2018. XPeng followed up the G3  with the P7 smart sedan in 2020. Deliveries of the P5 fastback began in September.

"G9 is our first model to be conceived and developed from the ground up for both the international and Chinese markets, demonstrating our commitment to the international markets and bringing our most sophisticated designs to our customers worldwide," said XPeng Co-founder and President Henry Xia, during the unveiling.

The G9 is XPENG's first production model to incorporate its new X-EEA 3.0 electronic and electrical architecture, as well as the first to offer the latest version of its advanced driver assistance system XPILOT 4.0, which offers autonomous driving capabilities.

The X-EEA 3.0 architecture includes a centralized supercomputing platform and local control modules. At the software level, the G9's software suite has been structured in layers, which includes a system software platform, foundation software platform and intelligent application platform. The individual software layers allow for faster development and iteration of vehicle functions, such as advanced driver assistance and voice control.

The G9 will be China's first EV to implement a Gigabit Ethernet communications architecture, supporting multiple communication protocols, allowing vehicles to transmit and receive data much faster. The faster data transfers support the G9's advanced driver assistance, smart vehicle systems. But it also allows for faster OTA firmware updates.

G9's firmware OTA upgrade can be completed in under 30 minutes without interrupting the vehicle operation and driving function. The systems can synchronously upgrade multiple domain controllers in the vehicle. Once the G9 is restarted, all of the updates are fully implemented. 

XPeng's new X-EEA 3.0 architecture also allows the G9 to perform self-diagnostics.

XPILOT 4.0 is the automaker's in-house proprietary advanced driver assistance system (ADAS). XPILOT 4.0 will be the first platform to deliver fully-autonomous driving from vehicle start-up to parking, and marks a significant step towards XPeng achieving fully autonomous driving in the future. 

To support higher levels of autonomous driving, XPILOT 4.0 is built on an entirely hardware platform powered by dual NVIDIA DRIVE Orin processors. The system delivers 508 TOPS (trillions of operations per second) computing power to act as the brains of the vehicle.

The XPILOT 4.0 autonomous driving platform is further bolstered by an 8-million-pixel front-view binocular camera and 2.9-million-pixel side-view cameras (covering front, rear, left and right view). The enhanced hardware suite will significantly increase XPILOT's perception capability, according to XPeng.

All of the G9's autonomous driving hardware is linked by an expandable domain controller.

The G9 is built on XPENG's new-generation XPower 3.0 powertrain system, which was China's first 800V EV using a silicon carbide (SiC) inverter. 

In an electric vehicle, the inverter converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) and controls the flow of electricity from the battery or from the battery pack to the electric motor(s). More importantly, the silicon carbide allows for a more rapid flow of power when the driver demands it, such as during hard acceleration. 

By using an SiC inverter, more power is made available at the wheels. This allows automakers the option of using smaller electric motors without sacrificing total output. But the motors can also be made lighter and operate more efficiently, which can increase range. 

Charging the G9 will also be ultra-fast, adding 200 km in range in just 5 minutes. To fully take advantage of the 800V SiC platform, XPENG is also rolling out 480 kW high-voltage supercharging piles.

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Xpeng is building out the largest supercharging network among all Chinese auto brands, with 550 branded supercharging stations and 1,734 free supercharging stations online in China as of Oct 31, 2021.

Since the G9 is also intended for sale in markets outside of China, its compliant with global standards, including C-NCAP in China and the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP) 5-star safety design standards. The G9 alos meets more stringent EU WVTA vehicle certification standards.

"Our G9 flagship smart SUV represents a new level of sophistication with a global perspective, and is an essential part of our exploration of smarter, safer, greener and sustainable mobility," said He Xiaopeng, CEO and Chairman of XPeng.

Xpeng is emerging as a strong competitor to Tesla in China with its advanced electric vehicles. Xpeng's lineup offers the same level of technology as Tesla, including autonomous driving capability, but its vehicles cost around half the price of a comparably equipped Tesla model in the China market.

Xpeng did not say when the G9 will go on sale, but people familiar with the company's plans said the flagship electric SUV will go on sale in Q3 2022.

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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