The distributor for Chinese electric vehicle (EV) brand Xpeng sees global leader Tesla as one of the brand’s key rivals ahead of its Australian launch in the coming months.

    It’s also aiming for the brand to one day be a top-three player in the Australian EV market.

    Xpeng will launch in Australia in late July or early August through TrueEV, its appointed local importer, distributor and retailer.

    The Xpeng G6 electric SUV will be the brand’s first vehicle in Australian showrooms, with the Tesla Model Y-sized rival due to arrive in showrooms from October 2024.

    It’s not just the Model Y that TrueEV is aiming to compete with, with the firm’s CEO Jason Clarke telling CarExpert Tesla is one of its targets to usurp in Australia’s EV sales race.

    “Clearly the market leader is Tesla.. I think when Australians think of EVs, that’s all that they’re currently seeing in the marketplace,” Mr Clarke said. 

    “But more and more, MG and GWM, those brands are becoming more predominant. They have market share. That’s where it [the competition] is going to come from.

    “The European EV variants are strong but a different audience perhaps.

    “If you look at Tesla’s behaviours, they’re reducing prices really significantly to maintain market share. That really is our target, whether we like it or not.

    “BYD is different, where it’s a more budget, lower-quality vehicle, but they’re away now.

    “That’s what I see in our competitor set. If you’re looking for an EV that’s a mid-size SUV, you’re really in that market.”

    Last year, Tesla’s Model Y SUV and Model 3 sedan combined for 46,116 sales, more than half of the 87,217 EVs sold in Australia throughout 2023.

    BYD with its Atto 3 SUV, Dolphin hatchback (launched in August) and Seal sedan (launched in December) notched up 12,438 sales across the 12 months, while MG finished third with 5928 sales from its MG 4 hatchback and MG ZS EV SUV.

    TrueEV hasn’t yet locked in Australian pricing and specifications for the G6, however Mr Clarke hinted the entry-level electric SUV could be priced between $55,000 to $60,000, putting it right in the territory of the base Tesla Model Y (priced from $55,900 before on-road costs).

    Overseas, the least expensive Xpeng G6 is powered by a 66kWh lithium iron phosphate battery, which provides up to 435km of driving range on the WLTP cycle – just 9km less than the Model Y’s claim.

    Base grades also feature a single electric motor which produces 190kW of power and 440Nm of torque, driving the rear wheels. This is down on the 194kW-220kW and 340Nm estimations reported for the Model Y RWD.

    While TrueEV hasn’t yet announced what other Xpeng models will join its local lineup, Mr Clarke said the distributor will sell “thousands” of G6s by 2026.

    “I can’t disclose the contracted [sales] targets, but I can say that we will be selling thousands of G6 variants over the next 18 months. The targets are modest,” the TrueEV CEO told CarExpert.

    “I personally want to see Xpeng as certainly [in the] top five EV sales in Australia, and we’re aiming for top three. That gives you some indication of where we’d want to place this. 

    “We did a lot of research on the competitor set coming out of China, so we think we’ve secured the best brand and our job is to get the message to Australians through our marketing. It’s a really good vehicle and a really great brand.”

    MORE: Everything Xpeng
    China’s Xpeng coming to Australia to take on Tesla

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

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