With all of the great cars at CES you could be forgiven for sometimes getting them mixed up. They really do start to all look the same. In the case of the Xpeng G3 though it is even easier to think that you have seen it before. It is, in effect, a copy of Tesla’s Model X.
Xpeng is part of the massive Alibaba Group. Alibaba state that they respect the history of century-long car manufacturing but are looking to add value to the development of the automotive industry through “partnership rather than entering auto manufacturing by itself”. This is where Xpeng come in.
If you love the Tesla Model X you will appreciate Xpeng’s G3. No drives were on offer at CES and the press kit was typed in Mandarin but from what we could see things looked good. That is of course unless you are familiar with Tesla.
The Xpeng experience is tainted by a nagging thought that you have seen this before. The slim LED headlights, the sporty SUV silhouette, the guard filling rims with low profile tyres, the large central iPad style ‘dashboard’, the windscreen that seamlessly blends into a sunroof, … the similarities never end. It even has a little pop up wing, like the Model X. The basic specs mirror the Tesla and include a stated 0 – 100kph time of 5.8 seconds and a range of 300km.
To ensure the success of Xpeng, Chairman He Xiaopeng has attracted talent from a range of industries including Dr Gu Junli, former lead for Tesla autopilot machine learning. Mmm, interesting.
It is an audacious copy of Tesla but it isn’t really for the West. In its home market, where imitation really does seem to be a form of flattery, the Xpeng will deliver a stylish way for China to address air quality.