Xpeng will buy assets and R&D from Didi’s smart electric vehicle project, Da Vinci, to develop a smart, compact EV, code-named Mona, in an effort to make smart driving more popular in mid-end market. Mass production is expected in 2024, and the market positioning will be around 150,000 yuan (20,500 USD). The Xpeng-badged cars have over 200k yuan price tag.
Based on the company’s statement, Xpeng will additionally issue around 5% of its ordinary A-class shares for 5.835 billion HKD (744 million USD). The issuance will be made in four stages. In the first stage, the company will issue 58.16 million shares when the Da Vinci assets and R&D are transferred to Xpeng. Another 4.63 million shares will be issued after the start of mass production and first deliveries. In the third stage, the EV maker will issue 14.05 million after the deliveries of the new car reach 180,000 units, while the last 14.27 million will be issued after another 180,000 units of Mona are delivered.
In return, Didi will give Xpeng assets and R&D from its smart EV project, Da Vinci, as the Shenzhen EV maker plans to develop a smart compact EV with an aim to make smart driving popular in the mid-end market. Mona will be the first model under the EV maker’s new brand, which will have a different market position than the current models.
The launch of Xpeng’s new brand and products will not only further increase market share through the scale effect but also enable the faster popularization of intelligent driving technology so that a wider range of user groups can enjoy the travel convenience brought about by technological universality, said EV maker’s CEO commenting on the agreement, which made local analysts conclude Xpeng is looking to develop ride-hailing EV.
Didi has been committed to promoting the sharing, electrification and intelligentization of the mobility market. Xpeng has a leading technological advantage in the field of intelligent electric vehicles and a deep accumulation in automotive intelligentization technology. The two sides will continue to deepen cooperation in multiple fields and jointly promote changes in the transportation and automotive industries, Didi CEO explained the motives.
This is not the first Xpeng’s venture into the ride-hailing market. Earlier, the carmaker manufactured rebadged P5, N5, which was specific for its ample legroom for the passengers seating in the back row. The project did not bring the sales volumes, Xpeng needed.
Likewise, Didi already had cooperation with a couple of manufacturers under the project named Da Vinci. Most notably, the D1 MPV was developed specifically for the ride-hailing company by BYD. Its launch and promotion were hampered when Didi became the subject of the regulator’s investigation and was ordered to stop adding new clients.
Similar cooperation was made with First Auto Work’s Bestune. The manufacturer developed Bestune NAT E05. Another venture was a joint venture with Li Auto, which filed for bankruptcy last year. Recently, the local media cited an inside source saying Didi’s EV project was done, and the company will stop developing and buying vehicles as the project was abandoned.
Based on the reports from the local media, Mona will be a different model from D1. It will have enhanced self-driving abilities and will be equipped with XNGP ADAS. Its official debut is expected in the fourth quarter of this year. Xpeng CEO said the car would be intended for the ride-sharing market, as well as for high-level autonomous driving in the personal vehicle market as the company plans to develop the 150,000 yuan (20,500 USD) hot seller that can reach 100,000 units of annual sales.
If the stock private placement is successful, Didi is looking to become the latest newcomer among Xpeng’s shareholders. Last month, German automotive giant Volkswagen announced buying a share in Xpeng in exchange for G9 platform. The EV maker will be quite busy in the following years as last week it said it plans to launch six more models by 2025.