China’s Tesla wannabe Xpeng starts ride-hailing service



There’re a lot of synergies between electric vehicles and ride-hailing. Drivers have the ability to save more steering an EV compared to a gas vehicle. Conscious consumers will opt to hire an electric car. And EVs are designed with compatibility with driving, which is expected to hit on the road in the coming decades.

Really, Tesla is eyeing to launch its first robotaxis in 2020 as part of a broader ride-sharing scheme. Within China where Tesla has a couple of disciples, EV startup Xpeng Motors, also known as Xiaopeng, just started offering a ride-hailing program powered by its own electric fleets.

Screenshot of Xpeng’s ride-hailing program ‘Youpeng Chuxing’

The company is the latest in a clutch of carmakers flocking to present their own platforms that are ride-hailing. Didi Chuxing’s massive loss hasn’t deterred their ambitious plans. Rather, this might be a prime time to crack a market long dominated by Didi, which will be prioritizing safety over growth following two high-profile incidents and a series of new government regulations.

Can China’s ride-hailing leader Didi repair its troubled reputation?

Xpeng’s program is currently only offered in a restricted area within Guangzhou where it s headquartered, reveals a test conducted by TechCrunch’s on Thursday.

The company’s coffer is large enough to finance its venture. It’s one of those most-backed EV upstarts alongside rival Nio, which raised $1 billion by a New York initial public offering this past year.

Xpeng must date banked $1.3 billion in Alibaba, IDG Capital, Foxconn, UCAR and other big-name investors, based on disclosed funding data collected by Crunchbase. Creator He Xiaopeng, a serial entrepreneur who made a fortune selling his mobile browser company UCWeb to Alibaba, told CNBC in March that Xpeng may also attempt an IPO down the road but would like to concentrate on building the business first.

When it comes to sources of inspiration for the organization, Xpeng advised local media that it sees Tesla because its “benchmark”. The company has never been bashful about its admiration for its American peer. Within an interview with Quartz in 2018, He explained one of the reasons he founded Xpeng “was because Elon Musk made Tesla’s patents available. It was exciting. ”

But the affection might have gone a little far. In March, Tesla sued an ex-employee for supposedly stealing Autopilot’s proprietary technology before taking a job at Xpeng.

Xpeng began shipping to its initial owners in March and was set five years back against the backdrop of Beijing’s aggressive electric push in the transport sector. The sprawling city Shenzhen, just north to Hong Kong, has turned all its public buses and almost all of its taxis electric.

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