Chinese EV brand Xpeng gets approval for driver-assist in Beijing

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Pictured here is a six-lane road in a congested area of Beijing near Sanyuanqiao on April 15, 2023.

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BEIJING — Chinese electric car brand Xpeng announced Thursday it received approval to start rolling out assisted driving tech to users in the nation’s capital city of Beijing.

The initial coverage only includes the “ring-road” highways that run in concentric circles around the city center and “main high-speed roads,” according to a CNBC translation of the Chinese-language release.

It was not immediately clear when the driver-assist tech could be used on all Beijing city streets.

Thursday’s announcement follows Xpeng’s release of urban scenario driver-assist tech for users in Shanghai in March, after an earlier rollout in Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

Xpeng has said it plans to roll out the tech, called XNGP, to other Chinese cities this year. The system, available to drivers of certain models for a fee, claims to make driving easier with software that assists with smooth braking at traffic lights, turning at intersections and other tasks on city streets.

Xpeng is the only automaker in China to offer a similar level of driver-assist technology as Tesla. While Tesla offers assisted driving technology for use on highways, its “Full Self Driving” function for driver-assist on city streets isn’t yet available in China.

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Electric car brands in China have increasingly made plans for driver-assist technology a selling point.

Xpeng claimed during its latest earnings call its driver-assist tech drove significant customer interest in cities where it can operate. The brand’s monthly deliveries have generally lagged behind competitors’.

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