XPeng showcases 1km/sec fast charging, new sub-brand in Beijing

XPeng Motors kept things relatively short but sweet during its 20-minute presentation at the 2024 Beijing International Auto Show earlier today, but there’s a lot to get excited about following several updates from XPeng founder, chairman, and CEO He Xiaopeng, including an “entirely new breed” of EVs under a new sub-brand. Here’s the full recap.

Today’s presentation in front of a crowd in Beijing (you can view it in its entirety below) started off simply recapping much of the same news we reported on in 2024, some of it dating back to the Chinese automaker’s annual Tech Day in October 2023.

XPeng CEO He Xiaopeng spoke in front of an X9 multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), a growing segment of luxury minivans in China. Xiaopeng highlighted much of the early success of XPeng’s first MPV model, which is versatile in that it can be configured to seat seven passengers or four, with room to transport five bikes.

As a popular BEV model amongst Chinese celebrities and athletes, XPeng’s CEO used the X9 as the vessel to highlight some of the advanced technologies it has been working on, including expansions of its XNGP ADAS technology, including new AI Valet and bodyguard functions. The automaker’s founder and chairman spoke to these technologies and what they mean for the future of EVs:

We are proud to demonstrate XPeng’s technological innovation prowess, through which we are laying a pathway to greater inclusion and equality in smart mobility. The next decade will be a ‘golden decade’ of smart vehicles. The core of smart vehicle advances is how to operate with automative software adoption emerging as the new industry norm. Looking ahead, XPeng will roll out the on-road testing of AI-powered functions integrated into XPeng models.

To support XNGP and other ADAS functions, XPeng used the Beijing Auto Show to share plans to deploy what it calls the “industry’s first mass-produced 2K pure visual neural network large model in vehicles.” This news confirms previous rumors we reported that XPeng was abandoning LiDAR sensors in favor of pure vision, similar to Tesla FSD.

These upgrades to perception and planning/control models will utilize over two million high-definition grids to reconstruct worlds around XPeng BEVs, ensuring that any and all surrounding objects and obstacles are identified quickly and effectively. The new technology is further supported by neural-network-based planning models, which can learn, think, and perform actions like the human mind.

According to the Beijing press conference, such neural technologies enable XPeng to deliver more human-like, self-learning vehicles that will rely heavily on AI moving forward. That includes the automaker’s latest operating system, XOS 5.1.0, which delivers several new AI-powered features to debut in the X9 before reaching other eligible XPeng EVs on May 20, 2024.

Those updates include the previously mentioned AI Valet Driver, upgraded surround reality (SR) perception capabilities, ask expanded function and learning capabilities of the automaker’s in-car AI assistant. We recommend checking out the video below for a real-world view of this technology being demonstrated.

XPeng’s new sub-brand will be called MONA

Last month, we shared news that XPeng had plans for a new EV sub-brand that focused heavily on artificial intelligence, as mentioned above, and well beyond. During the recent China Electric Vehicle 100 Summit, XPeng Chairman and CEO He Xiaopeng vowed to invest RMB 3.5 billion (~$492M) in the automaker’s “AI-enabled smart driving” technology in 2024 for R&D and the hiring of 4,000 new employees.

Xiaopeng also said the next decade of EVs will be one of intelligence and smart driving technology. As such, the new brand was in the works to deliver AI-centric tech at an affordable price for all, targeting MSRPs around RMB 100,000-150,000 ($14,000-$21,000).

At the time, we reported the unnamed sub-brand would launch in China soon as XPeng promised it will “create a new breed of AI-powered Smart EVs for young customers worldwide.” Today in Beijing, XPeng confirmed the new sub-brand is called MONA, which stands for “Made Of New AI.”

The company’s CEO said MONA will officially be introduced this June, so stay tuned for more details on that.

Last but not least, XPeng shared updates in regard to its charging technology, low-altitude flying car arm AeroHT, and its recent cooperation agreement signed with Volkswagen Group. On the charging side of things, XPeng says it is planning to upgrade its 800 kW DC fast chargers in Q3 2024, enabling what could potentially be the best charge speeds in the industry.

The automaker says the upgrades to the facilities will enable XPeng EVs to add more than 1 km (.62 miles) per second. AeroHT’s flying car was on display next to other XPeng EVs in Beijing after turning plenty of heads at CES in January. The eVTOL arm’s other vehicle, the modular flying car, is still seeking airworthiness certification and is expected to begin pre-sales in China in Q4 2024.

That’s all for now. As promised, here is the full XPeng press conference from the Beijing Auto Show, translated to English:

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