Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng is building a factory in the city of Wuhan that will have the capacity to produce 100,000 EVs a year, the company announced on Thursday.
In collaboration with the local government, the Guangzhou-based carmaker will construct a 733,000 square meter manufacturing base in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province. The new factory will house manufacturing and powertrain plants, as well as research and development facilities.
Xpeng said it is “well positioned to capture growing consumer demand for Smart EVs as the auto sector is experiencing the most significant transformation in decades.” According to industry standards, plants are usually completed between one and one-and-a-half years after they are announced.
“Smart EVs are booming in popularity in China. We have a long-term strategic roadmap to embrace the sector’s transformation. Expanding our capacity in key hubs like Wuhan plays a critical role,” said He Xiaopeng, Chairman and CEO of Xpeng.
“Wuhan’s strategic location as an auto manufacturing and distribution hub will further enhance our supply chain management, sales and distribution networks in the future,” he added. Wuhan is one of mainland China’s six major passenger vehicle manufacturing centers.
Xpeng’s first assembly line is in Zhaoqing, Guangdong and has a capacity of 150,000 units. Right now, the company is building its second wholly-owned plant in Guangzhou and will have a lineup of seven to eight models by 2024.
Its two EV models — the P7 sports smart sedan and G3 smart compact SUV — are highly popular among China’s tech-savvy middle-class consumers.
Despite seasonal industry-wide slowdown in car sales and ongoing complications due to a global chip shortage, the company delivered more than 13,000 EVs in the first quarter of 2021, marking a 487% jump year-on-year. March deliveries for Xpeng reached 5,102 units, a 384% increase year-on-year and a 130% increase month-on-month.
In comparison, rival Nio delivered 20,060 vehicles in the three months ending in March 2021, an increase of 423% year-on-year. In March alone, Nio delivered 7,257 vehicles, marking a new monthly record at 373% year-on-year growth. Newest figures from the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) showed Tesla, the dominant EV maker in China, sold 18,318 Shanghai-made Model 3 and Model Y cars in February 2021, up 470% year-over-year.
Two weeks ago, Xpeng concluded an eight-day-long autonomous driving challenge spanning more than 3,600 kilometers across six Chinese provinces to test its advanced driver-assist system, the Navigation Guided Pilot.
XPeng’s NGP, which enables primarily unassisted highway driving from point A to B based on the navigation route set by the driver, is a direct challenger to Tesla’s Navigate on Autopilot (NoA). Right now, the function is enabled on the P7’s XPILOT 3.0 advanced driver-assistance system, and the firm is scheduled to launch its latest version through an over-the-air update in the second quarter of this year.
The Alibaba and Xiaomi-backed firm also plans to unveil its third production model in the second quarter, with deliveries forecasted in the fourth quarter.