XPeng unveils new EV platform designed to reduce production costs
Chinese electric vehicle maker XPeng on Sunday unveiled its new vehicle manufacturing platform architecture that will lay the foundation for future production models and reduce development and manufacturing costs.
Smart Electric Platform Architecture (SEPA) 2.0 is expected to shorten the R&D cycle of future models by 20%, as well as reduce the cost of adapting Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and driver assistance systems. smart infotainment by 70% and 85%, respectively. .
The modular and interchangeable vehicle platform will support a range of vehicle types, such as XPeng’s upcoming G6 coupe SUV, which will debut Tuesday at Auto Shanghai 2023, Brian Gu, president of Xpeng, told reporters on Sunday.
The G6 will be the first vehicle built on the SEPA 2.0 platform. Gu said about 80 percent of the architectural components of each upcoming model will be compatible with future models, which will help XPeng complete its lineup without incurring too much cost.
The cost-driven event comes as XPeng’s rivals have sparked price wars in China. Tesla sparked a price war in October when the automaker slashed prices for models produced at its massive Shanghai factory. In January, Tesla threw more fuel on the fire with another discount that left its locally made cars about 14% cheaper than in 2022.
Rivals including XPeng, Nio, Volkswagen AG, Mercedes-Benz Group and Ford Motor all followed suit, wreaking havoc on China’s already struggling auto market.
Last month, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers called for an end to the price war, saying it was not a long-term solution to weak demand and overstocked stocks.
“The focus on being able to offer attractive products at affordable prices becomes even more important,” Gu said on Sunday.
The G9 SUV, which hit the Chinese market last September, starts at 309,900 RMB (~$45,000). XPeng’s P5 sedan starts at around 160,000 RMB (~$25,000).
XPeng has yet to share pricing for the G6, so it’s unclear what kind of pricing the automaker is aiming for with SEPA 2.0. XPeng CEO He Xiaopeng said Sunday that an automaker must reach 3 million units annually and globally if it is to survive beyond a decade.
XPeng delivered 18,230 electric vehicles in the first quarter of the year, down nearly 50% year-on-year. The company hopes its new P7i sports sedan, the new G6 and a yet to be unveiled 7-passenger multi-purpose vehicle will help boost sales this year.
XPeng’s SEPA 2.0 architecture includes front and rear integrated aluminum die-casting technologies, a practice Tesla has used since 2020 to manufacture unique vehicle underbody parts.
XPeng said the platform will be compatible with multiple vehicle platforms for wheelbases between 1,800mm and 3,200mm, and can support a range of vehicle types, from sedans and hatchbacks to minivans and pickup trucks. .
The architecture also incorporates “Cell Integrated Body” technology, which integrates the battery into the car body to provide more space in the cabin, increase battery safety and improve driving performance with a center of improved gravity.
The smart manufacturing system will be built by 2025, the company said, adding that all manufacturing facilities will integrate SEPA 2.0 through technology upgrades.
“We expect this scalable smart architecture to lead the development of smart electric vehicle technology over the next three years,” Xiaopeng said. “It will make rapid technological advances available to our customers as standard, with faster software upgrades, amazing cost savings and an improved product experience.”
XPeng also said the new architectural platform can help make its infotainment service, Xmart OS, accessible to every owner. Xmart OS is XPeng’s multi-sensor software and hardware intelligent cockpit, and a key feature is the voice assistant. The automaker said on Sunday that SEPA 2.0 shortens the voice software R&D cycle by 50% and cuts the cost of voice assistant service by 50%.
“Ultimately, SEPA2.0 will give us the architectural means of our continued quest to redefine the mobility experience with compelling value, superb comfort and rich infotainment,” said Xiaopeng.
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