Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng Motors on Monday announced it has signed agreements with multiple investment firms for a cash infusion of around $500 million in a Series C+, further signaling a return of investor confidence in the turbulent Chinese electric vehicle market.

Why it matters: The deal reflects a growing optimism from investors that electric vehicles are closing in on competition against gasoline cars thanks to a continuous increase in driving range and lowering ownership costs.

Details: Six-year-old Xpeng Motors that it will receive around $500 million in an extended Series C from institutional investors including Asian equity investment firm Aspex Management, US tech hedge fund Coatue Management, global private equity firm Hillhouse Capital, and Sequoia Capital China, according to a statement sent to TechNode. The latest valuation was not disclosed.

  • This comes less than a year after the Guangzhou-based EV startup closed its $400 million Series C from strategic investors including smartphone giant Xiaomi with a valuation of around $4 billion.
  • Last month, reports began circulating on Chinese media that Xpeng had secretly filed to float shares on a US stock market with J.P. Morgan the lead underwriter. The company declined to comment.
  • The EV maker, also backed by Alibaba, has ramped up efforts in the competition against Tesla with the release of its first sedan, the P7, boasting a range of 706 kilometers (439 miles) and a price one-third lower than the Model 3.
  • Nationwide deliveries began late last month. A spokeswoman declined to reveal the number of orders. In November, the company said that more than 15,000 customers had placed pre-orders with refundable deposits.
  • One of Tesla’s most high-profile challengers in the Chinese EV market, Xpeng is planning to roll out over-the-air software updates for its assisted driving system XPilot in the fourth quarter, providing self-driving functions including navigating on highways and valet parking.

Context: Thanks to Tesla’s strong deliveries and expected growth in profits, investor enthusiasm is now spilling over into Chinese EV upstarts.

  • Beijing-based Li Auto is accelerating itspublic listing on Nasdaq which is expected to happen later this month. The company is rumored to have raised up to $1 billion, the most among US-listed Chinese companies this year, according to Chinese media reports.

Jill Shen

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