The entry-level version of the SUV, restricted to China, is the only one without curtain airbags.
It is almost 2021, but Xpeng did not take time off to rest and prepare for the new year. Instead, it actively contacted InsideEVs about an article we published on December 28 regarding a Chinese Insurance Automotive Safety Index (CIASI) crash test video for its G3 model. We have removed that article from the site because it didn't present the full story regarding this particular crash test, which we'll now present here.
According to Xpeng, the G3 is sold in China in three versions: Core, Smart, and Premium. These last two are the ones sold in Norway, and both come with six airbags. The Core derivative is sold only in China with four airbags; it does not have a pair of side curtain airbags like the Smart and Premium models.
This is the main explanation for result differences between the C-NCAP and the CIASI assessments. While C-NCAP evaluated the G3 Smart with six airbags, CIASI tests entry-level versions of cars to determine if they're safe or not. If an automaker wants to have a high grade in CIASI crash tests, it has to give its entry-level vehicles the same equipment and body structure as more expensive versions.
At C-NCAP, the Xpeng G3 Smart got a 92.2 percent score, the highest one for an electric vehicle in China by July 2019, which is still unsurpassed.
When it comes to CIASI, Xpeng notes that the G3 Core got the top G (good) scores in occupant safety, pedestrian safety, and vehicle auxiliary safety, three of the four assessments CIASI performs. It received a Poor score in crashworthiness, but it argues that this category only evaluates maintenance costs at low-speed collisions, not safety.
Xpeng claims that 66.67 percent of the cars tested by CIASI got the same P score in that category, while only 18.52 percent got an M (mediocre), 11.11 percent got an A (average), and 3.7 percent got a G (good). That would put it on par with its main competitors. According to Xpeng, “vehicle styling, safety design, maintenance costs, and market demand are all factors that carmakers need to balance to obtain good results for this test.”
The base G3 Core sold only in China would surely benefit from of pair of side curtain airbags like the Smart and Premium models have, but Chinese customers are already making their voices heard. According to Xpeng, only 9.6 percent of G3 sales in China are for the Core version. The Smart and Premium account for 90.4 of sales. In Norway and the rest of Europe where the Core won't be sold, that figure will be 100 percent.
Both the Xpeng X3 and P7 will soon be tested by Euro NCAP. The company will let us know as soon as that happens.