Affordable $44,000 XPeng G9 SUV and $26,000 government EV put Tesla on value-for-money notice in China
As investors worry about its pricing strategy, XPeng's stock plunged when it released its top-end G9 electric SUV starting at just US$44,000, or about the tag of a basic Model Y in China with less range on a charge. Another cheap electric car launched by China's oldest automaker in partnership with Huawei and CATL costs just US$26,000, marking an increasing number of value EV propositions there that can take on Tesla's cars directly.
When it starts shipping in October, the G9 will be China's first commercially available vehicle with support for the 800V SiC platform that can top up the battery from 10%-80% in 15 minutes at the highest trim levels. The base G9 offers 354 miles of range and still supports fast C3 charging speeds that can do the same 10%-80% battery pump in 20 minutes at XPeng's growing 480kW charging network.
The higher trims offer the company's newest XNGP assisted driving system version that covers the widest possible scenarios, from self-parking, to city and highway driving, while the base model omits autonomous city trips. Unfortunately, it can't be directly compared with Tesla's FSD, as the latter isn't available in China, yet it is shaping up to be one of the most advanced autonomous driving options out there.
The other new EV launch, by a Chinese state-owned car company, seems engineered to take on the Model 3 directly, even mimicking its minimalistic design somewhat. At the equivalent of US$26,000, the Shenlan SL03 has been developed in partnership with Huawei, which now supplies EV software platforms, and the battery juggernaut CATL. The cheapest base model offers 320 miles (515 km) range at the local, fairly generous standard, while a 438 miles (705 km) version is also available.
For comparison, the Tesla Model 3 starts north of US$40,000 there and offers 345 miles range on the same cycle. The state automaker aims to ramp up production to 15,000 units per month by year's end, and, together with BYD's US$31,000 Seal may be another formidable competitor to the Model 3 in the value-for-money category.