Volkswagen inks its deal with Xpeng for two ‘smart e-cars’ for China

German carmaker Volkswagen has inked a Master Agreement with Chinese partner Xpeng on strategic technical collaboration to develop two ‘smart e-car’ models in the Chinese market’s mid-size (B) segment. These two first models should hit the market in 2026.

For the time being, the collaboration is only for the Chinese market. Still, earlier in July 2023, VW CEO Oliver Blume said, “There is also the possibility of taking the step out of China. But first, we want to establish the business in China.”

Joint sourcing and technical collaboration

In December 2023, Volkswagen acquired 4.99 percent of Xpeng shares and signed the framework agreement on strategic technical collaboration. As part of the latest Master Agreement, both parties commit to a ‘Joint Sourcing Program’ for the common parts of vehicles and platforms that both parties will use.

The latter should reduce the cost of the platform, aiming at synergies to secure the competitiveness of the B-class BEVs being jointly developed. Volkswagen’s China Technology Company (VCTC) in Hefei will be the guardian for joint purchasing activities and the use of innovative technologies in design and engineering to reduce development time by more than 30 percent.

Based on the platform of the G9 SUV

Technical details on the platform used for this B-segment in China, comparable with Europe’s D-segment with a wheelbase up to 2,900 mm, are scarce. Blume hinted earlier that the G9 platform from Xpeng with 800-Volts architecture will be used for this. Stefan Mecha, CEO of the VW brand in China, added that the first vehicle to be developed will be an SUV.

Xpeng launched the G9, a large SUV with extraordinary charging capabilities, in September 2022. In China, Xpeng showed 400 kW of charging power, enabling it to add 200 km of range in five minutes.

Superfast charging

Xpeng sells the 4.98 m long SUV in Europe in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands. The base version, RWD Standard Range with a 230 kW motor, sold in the Netherlands starting at €57,990, has a 78 kWh LFP battery offering a range of 460 km and can charge up to 260 kW.

The RWD Long Range and AWD Performance have dual motors with 405 kW combined and a 98 kWh NMC battery, allowing 570 and 520 km ranges and charging up to 300 kW at 480 A. That’s faster than the current Porsche Taycan (270 kW), holding the previous record, but is beaten again by the new Taycan to be launched in 2024, theoretically charging at up to 320 kW.

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