Chinese EV startup Xpeng says its new G9 SUV is ‘last step’ before autonomous vehicles • TechCrunch

Xpeng has launched the flagship G9 SUV, the fourth production vehicle in its lineup that will set a “new benchmark” for automated driving technology in passenger vehicles, the Chinese electric vehicle startup said on Wednesday.

The automaker says the G9 will come with an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that will eventually cover both city and highway driving scenarios.

“We believe [the G9] will become the new benchmark for intelligent electric vehicles and represents the final step before realizing truly autonomous vehicles,” said He Xiaopeng, CEO and Chairman of Xpeng, during the online launch event of G9.

The G9 unveiling comes the same week that Xpeng launched its much-anticipated City Navigation Guided Pilot (NGP) for its X5 family sedan. The ADAS, which is comparable to Tesla’s full self-driving software, will first be tested in Guangzhou, where it will be available to G9 buyers for the first time.

The G9 SUV will be available in three series, each with different ranges, for a total of six configurations. Estimated ranges of 570 km (354 miles), 650 km (404 miles) or 702 km (436 miles) depend on variant. The smart luxury car will cost buyers between 309,900 and 469,900 RMB (~44,000 to 66,660 US dollars) depending on the model.

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The company said the first deliveries are scheduled for October.

XNGP: ADAS for all Xpeng scenarios

Xpeng’s first-generation ADAS, Xpilot, will come standard on mid-range G9 models. Xpilot includes certain features such as valet parking and Highway NGP, which enables navigation-assisted automated driving from point A to point B on highways.

City NGP, which just launched in Guangzhou and continues to scale at a rate of one city per month, can handle tasks like making left or right turns, navigating intersections, and avoiding pedestrians, cyclists, and construction sites.

The higher-end versions of the G9 will come standard with Nvidia’s Drive Orin chips and rely on 31 sensors, including a front-facing camera and two lidar sensors. These will allow drivers to purchase Xpeng’s second generation “full scenario” ADAS, dubbed XNGP, for 28,000 RMB (~$4,000).

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According to Xpeng, by 2023, when it will be available in most Chinese cities, XNGP will be able to handle multiple driving scenarios without relying solely on high-precision maps. As with Tesla’s ADAS, drivers are required by law to remain alert when the car is in autonomous mode in case they need to take over the vehicle.

A faster charge for a faster car

The G9’s new powertrain system allows the all-wheel drive version of the G9 to produce 551 hp, 717 Nm (or about 528 pound-feet) of torque and go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. The SUV can stop just as quickly, coming to a standstill in less than 114 feet from 60 mph.

Xpeng said the G9 can also charge faster – from 10% to 80% in just 15 minutes on certain versions – on the automaker’s growing network of 480kW Supercharger stations thanks to a new 800-volt electrical architecture system. The company that has 1,000 charging stations across China, aggressively adds more. The company has said it will add another 500 Supercharger stations by 2023, and have a total of 2,000 locations nationwide by 2025.

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High tech features

Xpeng G9 interior seats in tan leather

Spacious interior of Xpeng’s flagship G9 SUV. Photo credit: Xpeng

The G9 features a new voice assistance system based on Multiple Input Multiple Output technology, meaning it can respond to commands from all four areas of the cabin within milliseconds. The SUV features Xpeng’s new 3D interactive user interface, which includes a 3D map that reflects the vehicle’s surroundings in real time.

The luxury SUV will also include Xopera, Xpeng’s multimedia system, equipped with a total of 28 speakers and vibration units that generate 2250W of power. For an immersive experience, Xopera uses Dolby Atmos technology to add seat vibrations, changes in ambient lighting, and scents tailored to the movie you’re watching, the music you’re listening to, or the general atmosphere you’re trying to create. are matched.

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