Tesla EV Rival Xpeng Says it Just Reached Major Automotive Milestone

Brian Gu says has seen the future and it’s going to be smarter.

Gu, president of Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng  (XPEV) – Get Free Report, said in a recent interview with CNN that smart technology is the next frontier for the highly competitive electric vehicle market. 

The executive believes that the number of players in the EV field will shrink to about 10 companies as the sector becomes “a lot more concentrated than what we see today.”

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“I think that next big wave is what we call ‘smartification’, not just electrification,” he said. “The vehicles are going to become smarter on the road the driver’s interaction with the car is going to be different.”

“The ability to take smart driving technology to be more used on roads will be more adaptive and more popular, and that will lead to another wave of changes,” he added. “And at Xpeng, we really think we want to be at the forefront of the smart EV wave.”

Making Cars Smarter

And speaking of smartification, Xpeng said on June 15 received approval to start rolling out assisted driving technology to users in the nation’s capital city of Beijing.

“We’re once again leading the industry by being the first to introduce ADAS for urban driving in Beijing,” the company tweeted, referring to “Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.”

Xpeng said City NGP, or Navigation Guided Pilot, is “now accessible in the country’s four largest cities and will soon expand to more cities this year.”

The company said that it plans to roll out the ADAS system to dozens of cities later this year.

The initial coverage only includes the “ring-road” highways that run in concentric circles around the city center and “main high-speed roads,” CNBC reported, citing its translation of the Chinese-language release.

China is the world’s largest market for cars in general and for electric vehicles in particular. Xpeng is the only automaker in the country to offer a similar level of driver-assist technology as Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Free Report.

Smart Tech Coming on Strong

In March, Xpeng released urban scenario driver-assist tech for users in Shanghai in March, after an earlier rollout in Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

Tesla offers assisted driving technology for use on highways, but its “Full Self Driving” function for driver-assist on city streets isn’t yet available in China.

Tesla’s autopilot is at the center of an ongoing federal safety investigation. There have 736 crashes and 17 fatalities in the U.S. since 2019 involving Teslas in Autopilot mode, according to the Washington Post, far more than previously reported.

Earlier this month, the California Department of Motor Vehicles approved Mercedes-Benz to sell or lease self-driving cars to the public June 8.

Similar to Tesla’s Autopilot, Mercedes’ Drive Pilot allows for hands-free driving. 

But it goes a bit beyond simply hands-free, allowing the driver to turn away from the road in something that is essentially eyes-free. 

However, drivers do have to be prepared to take control if necessary.

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