Xpeng has secured a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) permit to test-drive its new P7 EV. Does this mean the company is getting closer to the US market?
That’s the question I asked Xpeng this morning as it released the news that it secured its import permit for research purposes from the NHTSA. The Department of Transportation (DOT) gave Xpeng the go-ahead to test its P7 EV on US roads last week.
Watch for P7s on US roads
Those permits are important for EV makers to gather real-time data. This might be another step forward for Xpeng to enter the US market at a later date. However, over the past two and a half years, it insisted that its main focus is on the Chinese domestic market.
The Chinese EV startup was present at last year’s NVIDIA GTC expo in San Francisco. It says today that the NHTSA’s testing permit is a continuation of its determination to put most of its resources into R&D. Even though the majority of its testing is in China, gathering real-world data is crucial to its success.
Xpeng told me: “Currently, our main focus is to bring the P7 to the Chinese market, ensuring quality production and mass delivery providing customers with the best post-sales services.”
Is Xpeng coming to the US market?
Along with this, according to Pandaily, Xpeng Motors says it has also renewed its Autonomous Vehicles Testing Permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of the California State Transportation Agency, presumably where it focuses most of its driving.
The P7 boasts an advanced Smart Electric Platform Architecture (SEPA) and has met all the requirements of the US Customs and Border Protection (US CBP) for imported vehicles.
Dr. Xinzhou Wu, vice president of autonomous driving at Xpeng Motors, said, according to an email [via Inside EVs]:
Testing on the roads in the US will supplement the tremendous amount of tests we’ve already done in China. It’s another step forward for our closed-loop R&D approach to autonomous driving, including developing full-scenario vehicle perception capabilities, positioning, planning, decision-making, testing, and upgrading. This is the only way to maintain our long-term competitive advantage.
This comes on the heels of our previous article on how the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China (MIIT) verified that the P7’s driving range reaches 706km NEDC, the longest range among EVs made in China. It also completed a 120-day winter test this year under -35°C temperature conditions in Red River Valley Automotive Test Center, Heihe, Heilongjiang Province, China.
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