XPeng CEO says its software, AI upgrades to enter ‘super fast cycle’

By Thomson Reuters Apr 24, 2024 | 10:54 PM

By Sarah Wu

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker XPeng on Thursday said its software and artificial intelligence training upgrades will enter a “super fast cycle” from May, and that it hopes use of its platform will expand to other Asian countries and Europe.

He Xiaopeng, founder and CEO of the automaker backed by Germany’s Volkswagen, said software will be refreshed with upgrades every two months, in comments made at a press conference on the opening day of the Beijing auto show.

“This year, I believe XPeng will far surpass all of China’s autonomous driving technology rivals,” he said.

While rival Chinese automakers have been cutting costs amid a price war, XPeng has pledged to invest heavily in technology innovation as buyers in the world’s largest auto market increasingly seek more high-tech features when choosing cars.

In February, XPeng said it plans to hire 4,000 people this year and invest 3.5 billion yuan ($482 million) in artificial intelligence for intelligent driving technology.

He also said he hoped a smart EV that Xpeng is developing under new brand “Mona” will sell better than the SU7 from Xiaomi in the second half of this year, and that Xpeng plans pre-sales for a flying car in the fourth quarter.

XPeng, one of China’s best-selling EV startups, counts Volkswagen as a shareholder after the German automaker invested around $700 million for a 4.99% stake.

Volkswagen has said it developed a new architecture for intelligent and electric cars with Xpeng that will help the German automaker offer more affordable models.

($1 = 7.2467 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Sarah Wu; Writing by Brenda Goh; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Christopher Cushing)