Chinese electric vehicle startup and Tesla challenger Xpeng Motors has exported its first batch of vehicles to Europe, expanding its global presence. It's the first time the automaker is selling its electric vehicles outside of its home country.
Xpeng loaded 100 of its G3i fully electric SUVs on a cargo ship which will be shipped to Norway, which has the highest EV adoption rate. Roughly 75% of all new vehicles sold in Norway are plug-in hybrids of fully-electric models.
With Xpeng's expansion to Norway, the EV startup will give Tesla some additional competition in both China and in Europe. The Tesla Model 3 has sold briskly in the Scandinavian country, but so have Tesla's in general. Tesla was the second best selling car brand in Norway in 2019, selling roughly 18.8 thousand cars last year, according to data from Statista.
Xpeng is shipping the latest version of its G3 to Norway, which first went on sale in 2019. The newest version offers a longer range and other technology improvements from the previous model. The upgraded G3i is available with an extended NEDC driving range of 323 miles (520 km). It was launched at this year's Chengdu Motor Show.
"The first European-spec super-long-range Xpeng G3 intelligent SUVs formally left for Norway today, which made us so proud. It indicates that Xpeng Motors has made headway in various links such as product R&D, intelligent manufacturing and market expansion, and its products started to be tested by overseas consumers," said Xia Heng, co-founder and president of Xpeng Motors.
The Guangzhou-based EV manufacturer will partner with Zero Emission Mobility AS (ZEM), a Norway's automobile dealer. ZEM will be responsible for marketing after-sale service to local consumers, according to China's news outlet Gasgoo.
Xpeng had to make some minor changes to the vehicles to meet local regulations and standards of the European market. The European-spec version however will include Xpeng's popular autonomous valet parking feature. The automated parking feature is supported by a suite of 20 sensors including ultrasonic radars, high-definition cameras and millimeter-wave radars.
Xpeng alos modified its AI-powered Xmart OS in-car Intelligent System which supports voice commands for many of the vehicle's controls. The system will now be able to recognize words in English.
Xpeng is a strong competitor to Tesla in China, but now Tesla too is planning to ship its electric vehicles built at its Shanghai factory to Europe. Tesla's Shanghai factory is its first overseas plant.
Two weeks ago, Bloomberg reported that Tesla also plans to export its Model 3s built in China to Europe in an effort to boost profitability. The California company began delivering the first Model 3's built in China in December of last year.
The China-built Model 3s for delivery outside the country likely will start mass production in the fourth quarter of this year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details are private.
"Exporting Model 3s to Europe would take advantage of China's lower production cost base in a bid to improve profitability," said Michael Dean, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst.
Xpeng Motors was founded in 2014 and its electric vehicles are viewed as a popular alternative to Tesla models in China.
Xpeng's second electric model is the P7 smart sedan which went on sale in April. The electric sedan comes loaded with advanced technology, including self-parking like the G3. It's billed as a lower priced alternative to the Tesla Model S in China, costing less than half the price.
The automaker says it's offering the same level of technology, connectivity features and performance for around $50,000 less than Tesla's flagship Model S sedan. Xpeng's P7 also achieves an NEDC Range of 439 Miles, the longest of all EVs sold in China, including the Model S. The car features an all-wheel-drive setup with dual electric motors.
Xpeng Motors is backed by China's e-commerce giant Alibaba, which is China's equivalent of Amazon.
The company raised $1.5 billion in its U.S. IPO in August becoming a public company. Xpeng's stock now trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock symbol "XPEV."