Xpeng Motors launches P5 Lidar electric car to rival Tesla in China

Xpeng Motors launches the P5 sedan at an party in Guangzhou, China on April 14, 2021. The P5 is Xpeng’s third output product and functions so-identified as Lidar know-how.

Arjun Kharpal | CNBC

GUANGZHOU, China — Chinese electrical auto maker Xpeng Motors released the P5 on Wednesday, a sedan with new self-driving functions, as it appears to race ahead in China’s ultra-aggressive car industry.

The P5, Xpeng’s 3rd manufacturing product and 2nd sedan soon after the P7, adds a further competitor to Tesla’s Product 3 in China’s significantly crowded industry of electric vehicle-makers.

The Chinese agency, a rival to domestic players Nio and Li Auto, said it will release its pricing at the Shanghai Auto Display on Apr. 19.

But in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, Xinzhou Wu, vice president in charge of autonomous driving at Xpeng, reported the P5 will be priced lessen than the P7.

“At this selling price vary with the features we put in the auto, I assume it will be fairly compelling for our buyers,” he reported.

The P7 starts off from 229,900 yuan ($35,192) after subsidies. In comparison, Tesla’s Design 3 in China begins at 249,900 yuan.

Wu stated the P5 would roll out to customers in China in the third or fourth quarter of this calendar year. Xpeng has also expanded into Norway, its initially intercontinental industry. Wu mentioned that the company will broaden its footprint in northern Europe and the P5 would inevitably be introduced there. He gave no timelines on when this could materialize.

Driverless tech

Xpeng has tried using to press the improvement of its self-driving functions to differentiate from its competitors.

The P5 is equipped with so-called Lidar, or Light-weight Detection and Ranging technology. Lidar methods send out lasers that bounce back again and can evaluate length. Individuals returning beams are processed by an algorithm to create a three dimensional illustration of bordering objects — a important technologies for autonomous vehicles to comprehend their natural environment.

Xpeng statements that Lidar can help the P5 distinguish pedestrians, cyclists and scooters as effectively as road works — even at night and underneath reduced-light-weight circumstances.

On Wednesday, the Chinese automobile maker also released a new edition of XPILOT, its so-called highly developed driver-support procedure (ADAS). This refers to a method with some autonomous capabilities but exactly where a driver is still expected.

XPILOT 3.5 will have an updated version of a function known as Navigation Guided Pilot or NGP, which permits buyers to autonomously do responsibilities this kind of as altering lanes or overtaking automobiles. Some of these capabilities will operate on city roads for the first time. Beforehand, NGP was just intended for highways.

Xpeng’s XPILOT is an attempt to compete with Tesla’s own ADAS system identified as Autopilot as perfectly as other rivals like Nio with its Nio Pilot.

“In P7 we released NGP … only on highways. But freeway driving only occupies like 10% of peoples’ driving time. Becoming in a position to bring the technology and the functionality to towns is incredibly critical to make the element more usable and much more powerful to Chinese clients,” Wu mentioned.

In the town, Wu explained the situation was turning out to be “exponentially” a lot more hard, citing troubles in guaranteeing the car can recognize objects in its route correctly and reliably. “We think with Lidar … it will assistance us accomplish our target significantly more rapidly and gives us an edge in opposition to our opponents.”

Level of competition heating up

China’s electrical automobile market place is anticipated to decide up this yr with 1.9 million units envisioned to be marketed, developing 51% 12 months-on-yr, according analysis agency Canalys.

Numerous incentives from the governing administration, such as subsidies, have helped China turn into the major electric powered automobile market place in the environment. With that, a quantity of start off-ups have grown fast this kind of as Xpeng, Nio and Li Car.

But these gamers are competing versus standard automakers who are boosting their electric auto abilities as properly as other technological innovation corporations moving into into the fray.

Chinese research large Baidu teamed up with Geely to create a standalone electric automobile enterprise, though smartphone huge Xiaomi declared plans to launch an electric powered automobile business enterprise.

Past yr, Xpeng shipped 27,041 automobiles, far more than doubling from 2019. In comparison, Tesla’s Model 3 by yourself marketed much more than 137,000 units in 2020 in China.

Wu explained Xpeng has developed a large amount of know-how which he thinks offers the organization an edge.

“We are undoubtedly a step, a couple techniques forward, you know as compared to most of our competitors. So we are really confident that we can earn this race even with much more newcomers into this place,” Wu told CNBC.

“We feel that with this variety of aim on the Chinese market place, Chinese consumers, Chinese street situations and also the distinctive systems we convey collectively to make the tech much better fitted to China marketplace, I believe we do have an edge as compared to Tesla in the China industry.”