Chinese electric car startup Xpeng only revealed its G3 SUV to the world at last month’s 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but the vehicle, a potential rival to the Tesla Model X, has been testing in prototype form since 2016. That’s why Xpeng is confident of getting the G3 into showrooms, in China only initially, as early as this year.
Xpeng on Monday took another major step toward production of the G3 and other planned models with the announcement of funding of $350 million from multiple investors including e-commerce giant Alibaba and tech goods manufacturer Foxconn, the same company that manufactures iPhones for Apple. It brings Xpeng’s total funding to date to approximately $800 million.
That might not seem like enough to develop an electric car and get it to production, and it probably isn’t. To cut costs, Xpeng will outsource production to fellow Chinese automaker Haima.
The first model, the G3, is a mid-size SUV designed to seat five and should start from about $40,000, or almost the third the price of a Model X in China. The substantially lower price is made possible by avoiding steep tariffs by building the vehicles in China.
Xpeng will release full details on the G3 closer to the market launch later this year. However, it is expected the vehicle will have a peak power rating of 190 horsepower, a top speed of 105 mph, and a range of about 186 miles.
Other electric SUVs from Chinese startups include the Byton, which also made its debut at at the recent CES, as well as the ES8 from Nio.