XPENG Motors (小鹏汽车), used to be regarded as one of Tesla’s rivals in China, has claimed that the company is not competing with Tesla, but aiming to reach low-end customers.
The Alibaba-backed electric vehicle maker was founded in 2014, it is valued at USD 3.6 billion after its most recent funding round led by Primavera Capital. But the company hasn’t yet delivered a single car.
The statement was expressed by XPENG Motors’ co-founder and CEO HE Xiaopeng (何小鹏) in an interview with Chinese media Kuaikeji. When being asked, “How do you comment Tesla’s marching into China?” He Xiaopeng stated that Tesla was not XPENG Motors’ competitor. “There is a huge market in China that belongs to the huge population, and I believe that whoever gets the low-end customers will dominate the whole market,” said He Xiaopeng, implying that most Chinese customers are inclined to choose cheap cars as their commuting vehicles.
He xiaopeng also said that Xiaopeng Motors’ main competitors are other Chinese new energy vehicle makers. He didn’t speak frankly but it’s obvious that he was referring to NEV automakers such as NIO (蔚来汽车), BAIC BJEV (北汽新能源), and BYD (比亚迪).
It is unclear whether XPENG is a competitor of Tesla’s, but it's widely believed that XPENG is a plagiarist of which, and its founder He Xiaopeng seems to admit it.
He xiaopeng is also an aficionado of Tesla, it can be deduced from the fact that he owns 4 Tesla cars himself.
Back to the year of 2014, when Elon Musk shocked the whole automobile industry by making more than 200 Tesla patents publicly available, He Xiaopeng sold his company, the UC web browser to Alibaba, and began looking for opportunities in the automobile industry.
“One of the reasons XPENG was founded was because Elon Musk made Tesla’s patents available. It was so exciting,” He Xiaopeng said in an interview last year. “At that moment I had a very strong feeling… There will be new players to bring changes to the car industry just like Xiaomi, Apple, Huawei did in the mobile industry… I’ve also fallen in love listening to music since driving a Tesla [ because the car is so silent].”
And the truth is that you can even find lots of similarities between the debutant model of XPENG, the G3 model, and Tesla’s Model X, from the slim LED headlights, the windscreen, and the large central control monitor.