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New investment for Tesla-tapping Xiaopeng

Xiaopeng Series B funding round

Chinese start-up Xiaopeng secures new funding from tech giants ahead of production of its flagship G3 model later this year

Xiaopeng Motors, the Chinese EV start-up which plans to use open-sourced Tesla technology to produce its own range of cars, has secured a new tranche of investment led by fellow Chinese technology firms.

E-commerce giant Alibaba and electronics manufacturer Foxconn were some of the largest investors in Xiaopeng’s latest 2.2 billion yuan (~US$350 million) funding round. The new capital takes the company’s total funding to around 5 billion yuan, it said in a January 29 statement.

The partners are joined by Yunfeng Fund, Apoletto and Zhongjin Huirong, as well as Ji Yuan Capital, Morningside Capital and Jingwei Ventures.

Commenting on the new investment, Xiaopeng chairman He Xiaopeng said: “Alibaba is the world’s leading technology company, Foxconn is the benchmarking enterprise in the world’s industrial Internet and IDG Capital is the world’s top investment institution. The combined leadership of Alibaba, Foxconn and IDG Capital is an important milestone for Xiaopeng’s development.”

Xiaopeng has said its first EV, the G3, will be available later in 2018. Specific configurations and prices have not yet been released, but reports last year suggested the SUV will be priced at around US$30,000, significantly lower than the expected US$45,000 average spend on a Tesla Model 3. For that consumers can expect to get a range of around 300km.

The G allegedly stands for “geek” and ties into the general ethos behind the car’s production – namely that this should be a fully connected “internet-car” and that it embodies “geek lifestyle” (whatever that may be).

In addition to its engineering, design-wise it also owes much to Tesla (and the Model 3) with features that include a touchscreen central console and a panoramic windscreen.

Xiaopeng XPeng Beta concept
Xiaopeng XPeng Beta concept

Of course, it takes much more than flash to build a successful EV business, but with Tesla-based technology and investment from some respectable industry heavyweights, Xiaopeng looks to be in a better position than most. The proof will be in the production model (and the price), but the company is certainly one to watch in 2018.

 

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