Xpeng, a Chinese EV startup that made waves for copying Tesla to some degree, has now started delivering its electric cars in Europe, becoming one of the first new Chinese EV startups to expand west.
Xpeng, a Tesla clone?
Henry Xia, who founded Xpeng in 2014, admitted openly that he was influenced by Tesla and the automaker’s announcement that they were open-sourcing their patents.
It was reportedly the first company to actually take up Tesla on using their patents for free.
However, Tesla didn’t actually open-source its patent in the truest sense of the term, but rather promised not to sue anyone who uses its patents in good faith to make electric vehicles.
Xpeng went a little further than using technology from Tesla’s patents.
Electrek published a report about how the startup was building a vehicle heavily inspired by Tesla to the point that some were calling it a “Tesla clone.”
They ended up copying the Autopilot and instrument cluster user interface design for their electric SUV:
Xpeng even copied Tesla’s website design for the launch of their new P7 electric sedan before updating it following our report on it.
Now the startup is also embroiled in a lawsuit filed by Tesla over the theft of their Autopilot source code.
Last year, Tesla initiated a lawsuit against Guangzhi Cao, a former Autopilot engineer who quit to join Xpeng’s autonomous driving team.
In the lawsuit, the automaker claims that Cao downloaded the Autopilot source code to his personal device through Airdrop before leaving and selling it to Xpeng when joining the company.
Xpeng denied that they hired Cao for the source code, but Tesla claims to have evidence to the contrary.
Xpeng is now in Norway
Until now, Xpeng was only delivering its electric vehicles in China, where intellectual property rights are notoriously more difficult to enforce.
This week, the company started delivering vehicles outside of China for the first time.
The first batch of 100 Xpeng G3 electric SUVs arrived in Norway to be delivered to customers.
He Xiaopeng, CEO & chairman of Xpeng, commented on the milestone:
This week’s customer deliveries in Norway represent a key milestone in Xpeng’s aspirations to become a truly international smart EV brand. Our launch in Europe comes just as consumers are shifting in increasingly large numbers to more sustainable personal transport, and at a tipping point where governments around the world are stepping up their zero emission efforts. We look forward to being a significant driver in accelerating that transition.
The G3 in Norway starts at 358,000 NKr (€33,700/£30,300/$41,000).
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