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Xpeng’s G9 SUV looks ready to take on the world, Tesla


The G9’s visage displays Xpeng’s “Robot Face” design. Look closely and you might spot the lidar sensors in the headlamps.


Xpeng

Chinese EV manufacturer Xpeng Motors has just revealed a new flagship SUV to go with an ultrahigh-power charger to support it.

Unveiled at China’s Auto Guangzhou expo, this sleek G9 crossover lays bare the company’s international expansion plans — it’s the automaker’s first vehicle to be designed from the ground up with global regulatory compliance in mind. Established in 2014, Xpeng has been growing rapidly, selling over 10,000 vehicles per month in its home country, and the company has been making noises about seeking US sales. Xpeng already trades on the New York Stock Exchange and maintains stateside bases of operation in Silicon Valley’s Mountain View, California (around the corner from Alphabet’s Waymo), along with offices in San Diego.

Featuring what Xpeng calls “Robot Face” styling and a quartet of LED daytime running lamps designed to evoke the company’s Polestar-like logo, the company’s new G9 SUV also features a strong horizontal lightband across its grille-free nose, along with tall, cleanly surfaced bodysides and 21-inch wheels. Xpeng was among the very first automakers to incorporate lidar into a production vehicle, and the G9 has these laser radar sensors baked right into its headlight assemblies.

Unfortunately, it’s going to be a bit longer before Xpeng releases any images of the G9’s interior.

Similarly, for the moment, Xpeng isn’t spelling out much about the vehicle’s dynamic performance, be it accelerative prowess or total range. Instead, the company is focusing on the G9’s charging performance and its new advanced driver assist technologies. The G9 may be the young automaker’s fourth model, but it’s only the first model to incorporate the company’s X-EEA 3.0 electrical architecture, which is said to be “China’s first 800V high-voltage mass-production SiC platform.” Utilizing the company’s new 480-kW “supercharging piles” charging stations, the G9 will be able to add up to 200 kilometers of range — 124 miles — in as little as five minutes.

That new underlying electrical architecture will also help power the G9’s sensor array, which facilitates Xpilot 4.0, a new version of the company’s suite of advanced driver aids. Xpeng is clearly (and likely wisely) avoiding describing Xpilot as self-driving technology, but a company release claims the system will be the “first to deliver full-scenario assisted smart driving from vehicle start-up to parking, in an important step towards achieving full autonomous driving.” An integrated 5G connection will further facilitate over-the-air updates and cloud communications that are seen as pivotal to enabling automated mobility.

In related EV news, Xpeng also says its X-Power 3.0 superchargers incorporate a new liquid cooling feature into the charging gun, enabling up to 670 amps of power. Impressively, the company claims that the technology “allows continuous uninterrupted charging for an average of 30 vehicles at once, with 600-amp peak charging current.” Xpeng also asserts that it has the largest network of charging stations in China among domestic brands, some 1,648 stations (for reference, Tesla reportedly had over 7,000 charge points in the country as of mid-August).

The G9 is plug-and-play friends with Xpeng’s new X-Power supercharger network. Yes, they call it a “supercharger,” too. Don’t tell Elon.


Xpeng

Xpeng’s rapid growth has not been without controversy. In 2019, Tesla accused a former worker-turned-Xpeng employee of stealing Autopilot secrets. A resulting lawsuit against said ex-employee was reportedly settled in June of this year, with the accused making a “token” payment of undisclosed value to Tesla. Additionally, in June of 2020, Xpeng also faced accusations that it copied Tesla’s website design.

While Xpeng has not yet officially confirmed the G9’s on-sale date, a source close to the situation tells Roadshow that the SUV will be available in China in Q3 of 2022. Beyond its home market, Xpeng’s international expansion plans call for European vehicle sales first, with additional markets coming online thereafter — the company has yet to confirm the model for US and Canadian availability.





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