Shanghai Auto Show: Chinese EV Makers Make Their Pitch

The 2019 Shanghai auto show gave local Chinese electric vehicle brands the chance to showcase their best, and it appears the Chinese may have the right stuff to compete alongside market-leaders like Tesla.

After breaching and dominating sector after sector with its manufacturing prowess, it appears China is ready to make a huge impact in the Auto Sector too. The Auto sector has been one of the last ‘holdouts’, with a strong Japanese, European(Primarily German) and American  presence. Until now that is.

At the Shanghai Auto Show this year, there was enough to indicate that its just matter of time before Chinese firms grab a large market share here too. Although the EV marque will be upping its offerings to the Chinese market, and building vehicles there, brands like Nio and XPeng are looking excited to shake things up.

Nio, which has been subject to mixed attention of late, presented it’s ET Preview – an all-electric model based on Nio’s first saloon to go on sale in 2021. Insiders say the model is 80% series-ready, and demonstrates the company’s nickel-cobalt-manganese battery pack and 220kW electric motor powertrain.

Read: China’s Baidu, Chery Automobile Launch AI-Equipped Electric Car

The company claims the new EV will have a cruising range of up to 500 miles. The marque’s ES8, and ES6 SUV, due for release in May have been dogged by production problems. NIO is also giving other add ons like “One Click for Power” service on its app, for consumer convenience.  “One Click for Power” allows owners to order mobile charging vans or a valet service, where a staff member picks up the car, recharges it, and returns it through the NIO app. For starters, it’ll only be sold in the familiar environs of the home market .XPeng P7

XPeng P7Local competitor XPeng also presented the new XPeng P7, a coupe-like electric limousine to be on sale in the second quarter of 2020. Featuring a twin-engine, four-wheel drive, and a four-second sprint to 60mph, its range is boasted to be in excess of 600 kilometres. Whilst technical data is sparse, the battery is expected to stay close to its G3 predecessor at 47kWh.

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According to the company, over 3,387 orders were placed within 9 hours of the luxury-EV’s launch, and the company is confident it can beat Tesla on home turf.

Tesla’s price in China due to the import tax. Its sales price in the U.S. is about $89,000, but in China the price increases to more than $150,000. Also, the NIO’s ES8 now has come up with 650 horsepower. This makes it more interesting as top sports cars only have about 670 horsepower. But Tesla’s prices should come down once it starts manufacturing models in China. A factory in Shanghai is currently under construction.

Chinese automakers like NIO and XPeng are trying to compete with Tesla, but they still can’t quite reach that level. Most electric cars sold in China are lower-end products. But Chinese EV makers, bolstered by the government, have been making headways and the current developing product lines are a proof that they are going in the right direction. Over $18 billion dollars has been sunk into startups in the space, and while a lot of those are bound to fail, the money will certainly give more than a push up to local innovation and manufacturing practices.

With China already the world’s largest EV market, and global trends pointing to dominance by EV’s by as early as 2030 or earlier, the incumbent auto makers know that time is running out. The typical product life cycle of new product development in the sector, at 5 years or more, is already being shrunk to 2 years or even less by some players, pointing to how they see this as a matter of their long term survival.

Image Courtesy:  XPeng, 2019 Shanghai Auto

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