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There’s a $25,000 EV Coming, But It Isn’t From Tesla

(The Southern African Times) – Electric vehicles hit another milestone Wednesday. There is a sophisticated, lidar-equipped EV that can be had for less than $25,000. The vehicle isn’t from EV leader Tesla, though. 

Chinese EV maker XPeng (ticker: XPEV) launched its third production model, the P5 sedan. A lidar-equipped EV that starts at less than 160,00 Chinese renminbi, or less than $25,000. 

There are lower-priced EVs on the market, but not with lidar-enabled, advanced driver assistance systems and not with range of the P5. 

Lidar is essentially laser-based radar and helps enable autonomous driving functions. XPeng is quick to point out that its driver assistance features—like all others available in passenger vehicles bought by consumers these days—still require drivers to pay attention to the road at all times. Autonomous driving systems can do a lot—even make unprotected left turns on city streets—but they aren’t truly self-driving yet. 

Lidar is unusual on a car for consumers. It’s an impressive feature for a lower-price EV. In addition, the P5 sedan will go roughly 290 miles to 375 miles on a single charge, depending on the configuration purchased. That also compares favorably to more expensive EVs. 

More affordable EVs open up a new segment of the market for the battery electric car industry. Only a few segments of the auto universe has competitive EVs for sale. Light-duty pickup trucks are arriving now. Rivian is expected to start deliveries of its pickup in 2021. And a Tesla Model 3 as well as a Chevy Bolt—two popular EV models—can retail for between $40,000 and $60,000. Both are more expensive than Honda Civic- or Toyota Corolla-type vehicles. Tesla is working on a lower-priced model, starting at about $25,000 as well. Investors expect that model to arrive around 2023.

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