ZHENGZHOU, Henan – Chinese smart EV startup Xpeng Motors’ first volume production electric SUV rolled off the assembly line here on October 12 at the manufacturing facility of Haima Automobile Co., Ltd., where the two also officially signed a strategic cooperation agreement.
Xpeng Motors becomes the first among the so-called “internet carmakers” to begin quantity production of a smart EV, about three years after the company was founded in 2014 utilizing new business and operational models in the internet era to create a new generation of smart EVs.
Haima, a domestic-listed company, said in a statement on September 29 that it had signed a framework agreement with Xpeng Motors to jointly develop, produce and sell new energy vehicles. Xpeng Motors will authorize its trademark and related technologies to Haima and the two preliminarily agreed to produce 50,000 vehicles a year and realize volume production by yearend.
The compact electric SUV has a length, width and height of 4.47m, 1.82m and 1.6m with a wheelbase of 2.61m. It is equipped with a 140-kW electric motor and Samsung 18650 ternary lithium battery with an energy density of 152 Wh/kg giving it a range of over 300 km.
He Xiaopeng, chairman of Xpeng Motors who drove the first SUV onto the stage, said he was confident about the prospects of this SUV, but the initial “1.0 version” will not be sold to the general public in large scale, rather to “geekers.” The upcoming “2.0 version” will be marketed to a larger extend with significant upgrades.
Henry Xia, president of Xpeng Motors, said that it already produced more than 100 units of the trial-production version in February for testing, and through cooperating with Haima it was able to get the SUV onto the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT)’s product catalogue in May. During the same month, it announced an investment of ¥10 billion to set up a production base in Zhaoqing, Guangdong Province with a first-phase project that can produce 100,0000 vehicles a year after construction completes in 2019.
So far, Xpeng Motors has received several financing rounds including $42 million Pre-A financing, $60 million in interest-free loans and A-series financing of ¥2.2 billion from UCAR Industrial Fund.