What is it?
Over the last five years, new electric car startups have sprung up pretty much every month in China. However, only three – Xpeng, Nio, and Weltmeister - have actually sold more than 10,000 cars.
Recently Xpeng secured $400 million of extra funding, including money from mobile phone company Xiaomi, with the aim of making an even bigger name for itself in its home market.
This G3 is currently the company's only model on sale, with the new P7 set to join it in the first half of 2020.
What's it like?
A compact SUV, it has distinctive looks with a high shoulder line at the rear running down to its sharply raked bonnet. An unusual panoramic windscreen really opens up the cabin, making the car feel light and airy. The higher spec versions have a hump on the roof housing a deployable camera.
Named after the company CEO, and one of the original investors, Xpeng currently uses a contract manufacturer to produce the G3. Build quality is impressive, with good panel fit on the outside and a glove box that opens smoothly inside, the same being true of the centre compartment between the seats. Soft-feel plastics dominate the most commonly touched interior surfaces and everything feels solid.
Much like that found inside the Model 3, a large (15.6 inch) touchscreen dominates the dashboard although, in the case of the G3, it is portrait orientated. With the user interface being in Chinese, full functionality was difficult to judge, but functions are grouped logically and it seemed relatively easy to use. With voice activated controls via the AI assistant ‘Xiao P’, drivers rarely need to actually touch the screen. Unlike the stark minimalism of the Model 3, the G3 has a slightly more conventional dashboard layout, albeit very digital – the G in the name stands for ‘geek.’ Full instrumentation is provided by a 12.3 inch screen in front of the steering wheel, featuring colourful graphics and navigation prompts.
The back seat offers enough space for three adults in to sit reasonable comfort, although the middle passenger could do with more lumbar support. There are two USB chargers for those in the back, along with air vents. The . tailgate is electric and there's a hidden compartment beneath the main luggage area; in it you'll find a large amount of extra space and the tyre repair kit – there being no spare. While the rear seats do fold down for extra boot space, they don't fold flat.