Electric car startup Xiaopeng Motors raised series B+ of $587 million

Tinuku - Xiaopeng Motors, the electric car start-up backed by Alibaba Group Holding, completed a 4 billion yuan (US$587 million) funding round, stepping up its war to take on giants including Tesla in the world’s largest auto market. The latest series B+ round is led by Primavera Capital, Morningside Venture Capital. Hillhouse Capital, K11 and Eastern Bell Venture Capital have also chipped in as new investors in the round.

“Autonomous driving and smart connectivity is our core difference. Xiaopeng will start delivery of the G3 model by the end of the year, and we are confident users will receive pretty, cost efficient and smart connected cars by then,” the company chairman and CEO He Xiaopeng announced on Thursday.

Tinuku Electric car startup Xiaopeng Motors raised series B+ of $587 million

Despite not having delivered a single mass-produced vehicle, the Guangzhou-based start-up has raised over 10 billion yuan since its inauguration and is now valued at over 25 billion yuan, according to the company. Xiaopeng, also known as Xpeng, unveiled its first production model at the CES technology show in Las Vegas in January. The G3 features a windscreen that extends all the way back to mid-roof giving occupants a sky view.

Star Wars-inspired headlights, the auxiliary lamps are shaped like light sabres, and a contour that the company said resembles a shark. The car is expected to be priced between 250,000 yuan and 300,000 yuan (US$47,440), putting it in the same price bracket as Audi’s Q3, Mercedes-Benz’s GLA and BMW’s X1. Tesla’s Model X starts from about US$118,000 in China.

Xpeng is one of the few dozen Chinese electric car start-ups that have emerged in recent years after the government started issuing special manufacturing permits to companies outside traditional auto industry players. Venturing into territory dominated by GM, Toyota Motor and VW, the start-ups are investing billions of dollars in advanced technologies that form the backbone of autonomous and connected driving.