Key Takeaways From XPeng's (XPEV) 2021 Tech Day Event

·4 min read

XPeng Inc. XPEV recently announced a series of innovations at its annual Tech Day in Guangzhou in China aimed at shaping the future of transportation.

The Chinese smart electric vehicle (EV) start-up gave an insight into the company’s latest versions of its advanced driver assistance system (ADAS),  supercharger network, a next-generation flying car built with HT Aero, and robotic pony for kids.

Firstly, XPeng revealed plans to launch the next generation of its ADAS — Xpilot 3.5 — for drivers in select cities during the first half of 2022. This refers to a driving software system with some autonomous features but where a driver will still be needed.

With Xpilot Pilot 3.5, the company will introduce a feature called the City Navigation Guided Pilot (NGP). This system will enable XPeng’s cars to change lanes, accelerate or slow down, and enter and exit highways. What makes the system unique is that previously it was designed just for highways, but now it will be launched for driving in the cities as well. While XPeng’s approach to reaching full autonomy is parallel to that of Tesla’s TSLA, the latter has specified no date as to when it will bring its Full Self-Driving Beta (FSD Beta) capability to the cities.

At the event, XPeng also presented details of the next-generation ADAS called Xpilot 4.0, which is slated to hit the roads in the first half of 2023. The company noted that it is building an upgraded hardware that will power Xpilot 4.0, with features including vehicle switch-on to assisted parking. Reportedly, Xpilot 4.0 will not go into any of the automaker’s existing vehicles, but rather will be integrated in an unannounced vehicle.

Xpeng also mentioned its plans to produce the next-generation “X-Power” superchargers for the company’s cars. Management claims that with just five minutes of charging with the new charger, the car’s battery will have enough power to run for 200 kilometers or 125 miles.  Xpeng did not disclose as to when this new charging tech will hit the markets.

The most attractive reveal at the event was made by HT Aero, an affiliate of XPeng, which took the wraps off a flying car that can both drive on land like a normal car as well as fly in the air. This sixth-generation flying car will have a lightweight design and a rotor that folds away. This allows the car to drive on roads and then fly once the rotors are expanded. The vehicle will also have a number of safety features like advanced environmental perception system and parachutes. The company plans to introduce the flying car in 2024. The car is not yet commercially available and the final design might be subject to changes.

At the Tech Day, XPeng also presented another aspect of the company’s smart mobility ecosystem, its robotics innovation. Last month, XPeng had showed off a pony-style robot that kids could interact with. On its Tech Day, XPeng laid out further details shedding light on how it sees smart robots, like this pony, become an intelligent platform for an integrated smart mobility system that can help overcome much more complicated autonomy issues than vehicles. XPeng plans to create a quadruped robot rather than a two-legged robot because four legs are more stable than two, challenging Tesla’s plans to create a bipedal humanoid robot to handle human day-to-day tasks like grocery shopping.

XPeng, backed by Alibaba Group and Hillhouse Capital Management, is a leading Chinese smart EV company that designs, develops, manufactures, and markets smart EVs catering the large and growing base of technology-savvy middle-income consumers in China.  The company has been boosting the production capacity for its range of models — the G3 SUV, the P7 sedan and the recently-launched P5. Though XPeng is nowhere near the EV giant Tesla, it has managed to garner a lot of investors’ attention like its other Chinese peers namely NIO Inc. NIO and Li Auto LI.

XPeng currently carries a Zacks Rank of 3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.


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