Xpeng To Hire 4,000 Staff Amidst EV ‘Bloodbath’

Xpeng chairman and chief executive He Xiaopeng introduces the X9 electric vehicle in November 2023. Image credit: Xpeng

Guangzhou EV maker Xpeng to hire 4,000 staff and splurge on AI development as it expects ‘bloodbath’ in China EV market

Guangzhou-based electric vehicle (EV) maker Xpeng is to hire 4,000 staff and invest 3.5 billion yuan ($486m, £390m) into artificial intelligence research as it seeks to distinguish itself in the ultra-competitive “bloodbath” of China’s EV market, founder He Xiaopeng said in a message to staff on Sunday.

“It will be the first year that the EV competition enters into a new phase of bloodbath,” He wrote.

Xpeng has been striving to survive fierce competition right from the beginning and has accumulated sufficient experience. I believe we will eventually triumph if we keep up the hard work.”

He said 30 new or revamped models would be launched in the next three years, in remarks later confirmed by the company.

Image credit: Xpeng
Image credit: Xpeng

AI investment

Xpeng is to launch two new platforms this year, one for EVs priced at about 150,000 yuan and the other for premium models priced at over 300,000 yuan.

He said AI is a key area for making its EVs more efficient, convenient, and accessible.

Xpeng’s Xpilot technology offers limited autonomous functions, including the Navigation Guided Pilot (NGP) feature, which offers advanced driver assistance features for cities including Beijing and Shanghai.

NGP is comparable to Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) system, which has not yet been approved by Chinese authorities and is not available in the country.

The Xpeng G9. Image credit: Xpeng
The Xpeng G9. Image credit: Xpeng

Price war

Xpeng, Nio and Li Auto are considered China’s response to Tesla in that they offer autonomous driving, digital cockpits and high-performance batteries, but of the three only Beijing-based Li Auto has so far turned a profit.

More than 200 EV makers compete against one another in the world’s biggest auto and EV market, with smaller players taking the brunt of a price war begun by Tesla last year.

Last year’s EV sales grew by 37 percent in the country, but Fitch Ratings predicted that would slow to 20 percent this year.

Image credit: Xpeng
Image credit: Xpeng