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XPeng Launches its New & Improved G3i SUV in China, a More Affordable Alternative to the Tesla Model Y

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【Summary】​Competition in the electric vehicle space is heating up for Tesla in China, with new startups XPeng and NIO Inc. delivering stylish, tech-laden, yet affordable electric vehicles. Tesla challenger XPeng just unveiled its refreshed G3i, which offers autonomous driving capability and self-parking. It costs around half the price of a Tesla Model Y.

Eric Walz    Jul 09, 2021 9:45 AM PT
XPeng Launches its New & Improved G3i SUV in China, a More Affordable Alternative to the Tesla Model Y
The redesigned XPeng G3i electric SUV.

Competition in the electric vehicle space is heating up for Tesla in China, with new startups XPeng Inc. and NIO Inc. delivering stylish, tech-laden, yet affordable electric vehicles.

Tesla challenger XPeng just unveiled its refreshed G3i, which offers new features such as autonomous driving capability and self-parking. In total, XPeng said the latest G3 has received 15 major firmware OTA upgrades since it launched in 2018. XPeng added 55 new functions as of March 31, 2021.  

Deliveries of the refreshed G3i will start in September.

The XPeng G3i Smart SUV is targeted at younger and more tech-savvy buyers as a more affordable alternative to Tesla's much more expensive electric vehicles. This group of buyers represents over 30% of car buyers in China, According to IHS Markit. XPeng's market reach is significant with the new, fully-electric G3i, as China is the world's biggest auto market. 

The G3i starts at RMB149,800 (US$23,121) post subsidies. A fully equipped model with all the options costs RMB 185,800 (US$28,678). 

This is much less than the Tesla Model Y costs in China. The least expensive rear-wheel drive Model Y costs RMB 276,000 (US$42,600), while the Long battery life, all-wheel-drive version costs RMB 347,900 (US$53,697) post subsidies. 

Among the upgrades, the mid-phase facelift version of the G3 in China features a new fascia exterior design. The G3i offers more than 50 exterior and interior color combinations for a high level of customization. It also features a panoramic front windshield that extends over the front seats for commanding view of the road.

"With optimized intelligent features and a fresh new look, we believe that the G3i will become the first choice of RMB200,000 range smart electric SUVs for young people," said He Xiaopeng, Chairman and CEO of XPeng. 

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XPeng says the G3i is equipped with the most powerful in-car operating system and the strongest autonomous driving assistance system in its class. Both the autonomous driving features and smart vehicle OS were developed entirely in-house by XPeng's R&D teams. Nearly half of XPeng's employees work in R&D developing advanced technologies for the automaker.

In total, the G3 has received 15 major firmware OTA upgrades since its launch, adding 55 new functions as of March 31, 2021.

The G3i features XPeng's X-PILOT 2.5 autonomous driving feature. The EV is equipped with 20 sensors, including 12 ultrasonic radars, 5 high-definition cameras and 3 millimeter-wave radars for safe navigation on China's roads. X-PILOT 2.5 can accurately identify roads, vehicles, pedestrians and obstacles. 

The G3i also offers autonomous parking, a popular feature for drivers in China. The autonomous parking feature combines ultrasonics sensors with a panoramic vision system using cameras. The ultrasonic sensors can identify an empty parking space as well as parallel and vertical parking spaces, which can be either marked or unmarked.  XPeng says its parking technology covers roughly 70% of parking scenarios in China. 

The G3i has an upgraded in-car infotainment system powered by the Snapdragon 820A processor, as well as a full-scenario voice assistant which supports conversational AI-powered voice interactions and ustomized voice commands. Xpeng said the utilization rate of its AI-powered voice assistant has exceeded 99%, meaning its well-received by customers in China. 

"As a frontrunner of the smart electric vehicle industry, we not only strive to offer our customers the benefit of the most advanced technologies, but also to create cutting-edge cool products for the younger generations in China," said Mr. He during the G3i launch event in Chengdu, China.

The G3 compact SUV was XPeng's first EV. The company followed the G3 with the P7 sedan in 2020. The P7 is a strong competitor to Tesla's flagship Model S in China, costing around half the price.

Since launching in 2018, the XPeng G3 has become the second best-selling pure electric SUV in China's mid-to-high-end market for more than two years, according to XPeng. In the first quarter of 2021, the XPeng G3 ranked first place in terms of new insurance registrations in China for A-class purely electric SUVs.

XPeng is also getting ready to launch its third production model named the P5 in the third quarter of this year, which the company says is a more family-friendly EV. Deliveries are expected to start in the fourth quarter 2021. 

The P5 will be the world's first mass-produced Smart EV equipped with lidar to support autonomous driving.

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