Electric vehicle maker Xpeng Motors has started delivering the 2020 version of its first mass market SUV model, the G3, timed for what experts foresee will be a pickup in Chinese new energy vehicle market at the end of the year.

Why it matters: The delivery of XPeng’s newest model follows a July backlash from consumers over the unexpected release of the G3 2020 version, which features an extended driving range and lower price tag.

  • Customers who had just ordered the G3 2019 edition parked outside of the company’s Guangzhou headquarters on July 13 in protest of the new model launch. Some had placed orders for the older model days earlier at full price, and were demanding a replacement or refund.

Details: Xpeng Motors began delivering its updated G3 model on Friday at a trade event in the southwestern city of Chengdu. The 2020 edition boasts an extended 520 kilometer range meeting New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) standards—a widely used measurement for vehicle emissions and fuel economy—and a self-developed operating system with assisted driving features tailored for domestic road conditions and driving habits.

  • More than 9,200 Xpeng vehicles were registered with the mandatory automobile insurance for the first seven months of this year, just dozens of units more than the number of WM Motor models reported and about 300 units fewer than those reported by Nio, reported Chinese media citing government figures.
  • Xpeng also showcased its first four-door coupe, the P7 equipped with Level 3 autonomous driving features with a driving range exceeding 600 kilometers NEDC, which is planned for delivery in spring 2020.
  • The company shed more light on its market expansion, saying that it is on track to open more than 120 retail stores nationwide and 200 supercharging stations in around 30 cities by the end of this year.
  • Five days after the July protest, the company announced measures to counter growing anger, offering either RMB 10,000 ($1,400) coupons for vehicle charging, repairs, and maintenance, or an opportunity to trade in their cars after three years of use for a new model at a 60% discount.
  • Customers who had ordered the older model but had not yet received them were told they could transfer the order into one for the new edition, the company said in a statement sent to TechNode on Monday.

Context: China’s new energy vehicles (NEV) sales declined in July for the first time since 2017, weakening 4.3% year on year to 80,000 units, but analysts expect that the market could recover in coming months.

  • Sinolink Securities said sales had likely bottomed out in July, a result of reduced government subsidies taking effect. However, because refinements to the dual credit policy encourages innovation in extended range and product enhancement, it expects a turnaround after “market adjustments” in July.
  • Shanghai Securities forecasted a rebound in NEV demand beginning in September after reaching lows in July and August, in addition to growing opportunities from an accelerated car electrification in overseas markets.
  • China auto exports increased 3.1% year on year in the first six months of this year. The Ministry of Commerce said Thursday that the government is working on new policies to further promote trade in automobiles.

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen

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