Guangzhou-based XPeng Motors expanded has launched lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery options for three vehicle offerings in the Chinese market. These include the P7 rear-wheel-drive Standard Range Smart and P7 rear-wheel-drive Standard Range Premium models, as well as the G3 compact SUV 460c model.
The new P7 Standard Range models, based on the existing RWD Long Range models, are powered by an IP68 waterproofed and dustproof LFP battery and deliver a driving range of NEDC 480km, and come equipped with the XPILOT 2.5+ and XPILOT 3.0 autonomous driving assistance systems for the Smart and Premium versions respectively. They will be supported by the latest Xmart OS intelligent in-car operating system.
Retail prices (post government subsidies) for the LFP P7 Smart and Premium are RMB 229,900 (~$35,550.00 US) and RMB 239,900 (~$37,100.00 US), respectively. Customer deliveries are expected to begin in May 2021. That's a savings of RMB 20,000 (~$3,100 US) on each vehicle.
Xpeng is positioning the LFP battery option as desirable for customers in which shorter distance city driving is what they primarily experience. That actually accounts for a significant number of consumers in China. Xpeng believes that those customers would prefer the savings that the LFP battery affords, or use that money on smarter in-vehicle features, like more advanced autonomous driving functions. The lower-cost LFP battery allows XPeng to better serve the diversified customer needs in China.
The new LFP battery versions not only enable Xpeng to offer a wider spectrum of driving range options for its customers but also addresses their demands for superior autonomous driving features at similar price points.
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For instance, at the same price as the existing entry-level P7 RWD Long Range model (229,900 RMB), customers can now purchase the new P7 RWD Standard Range Smart model with added autonomous drive functionality, supported by higher-spec XPILOT 2.5+ hardware (including System-on-a-Chip (SoC); high-definition millimeter-wave radar; and autonomous driving high perception camera).
XPeng also launched a new G3 460c version with LFP-powered batteries. Based on the original G3 460i, the new model has the same driving range of 460km (NEDC), with low-drag wheels at a retail price of RMB 149,800 (~$23,150.00 US - post subsidies), which is the same price as the NMC Battery G3 460c. Customer deliveries are expected to start in April 2021.
Xpeng's battery supplier for the new LFP cells is the same supplier that they co-developed the prismatic lithium NCM battery cells with, CATL.
We're now seeing many electric vehicle manufacturers turn to lithium iron phosphate batteries, partially due to supply constraints of nickel, which is used in the popular NCM (nickel manganese cobalt) battery cells.
LFP batteries are generally considered safer because they have a lower risk of thermal runaway. They tend to have a longer lifespan, and are less expensive, but are heavier, have a lower driving range because they are less energy-dense, and have been known to have some difficulty in cold weather applications.