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Tesla China’s Model 3 copycat, the Xpeng P7, was deemed a failure by local Chinese media after only 166 units were sold in May, according to public records. Xpeng started selling the P7 in May when Tesla China reportedly sold more than 11,000 units of the Model 3.
Outside of China, most readers might recognize Xpeng as the company that hired former Tesla employees who were accused of stealing the American company’s Autopilot source code. Tesla filed a lawsuit against Xpeng over its stolen Autopilot source code, which has not been settled yet.
Tesla Sold 11,095 Units of The Giga Shanghai Made Model 3 In May, Says China's CPCA https://t.co/o02vdCkCvE— Tesmanian.com (@Tesmanian_com) June 8, 2020
If the Tesla Model 3 has Autopilot, Xpeng’s P7 has SEPA or Smart Electric Platform Architecture. On its official website, Xpeng describes SEPA as follows:
“Built on the SEPA (Smart Electric Platform Architecture) with a comprehensive built-in neural network backed by [a] powerful dual-chip computing system, the P7’s data processing capability eclipses its predecessor to handle more scenarios. Each whole-vehicle OTA upgrade will significantly improve your experience.”
Based on local media reports, Xpeng demonstrated some of the P7’s "intelligent driving assist functions" during a press conference. However, the features could not be used during close up evaluations by the media. When Xpeng P7 sales started in May, media evaluations revealed that very few of the driving assistance functions were enabled. According to local reports, the rest of the features would be available in a follow-up OTA update at an undetermined later date.
The Xpeng P7’s low sales numbers might be have been affected by two accidents that occurred with test units before the company started selling its Model 3 competitor. In the first accident, an Xpeng P7 crashed into a guardrail. Many people suspected that the P7’s axle had broken, causing the crash, but Xpeng claimed the driver was not operating the vehicle properly.
Credit: Local Chinese Media
The second accident didn’t involve a P7 vehicle, but the G3—Xpeng’s “Super Long Range Smart SUV.” Chinese media reports say that an issue with the G3’s suspension might have caused the crash. The two accidents might have caused consumers in the Chinese market to question the build quality of Xpeng’s vehicles, resulting in low sales in its first month.
In the same month, Tesla Giga Shanghai started delivering the Model 3 Long Range RWD. Many people speculated that there would be high demand for the Long Range RWD variant, and based on delivery estimates, their assumptions might have been accurate.
In China, Tesla has taken extra steps to involve the community that supports it in the country. For example, Tesla China executives visit Owners Clubs in many different cities to interact with the people that support the company. Tesla China’s rapport with consumers may very well be good for sales and the company’s future.Follow @PurplePanda88
About the Author
Ma. Claribelle Deveza
Longtime writer and news/book editor. Writing about Tesla allows me to contribute something good to the world, while doing something I love.