China’s new energy high-end vehicles expand the dimension of competition

International Business News  –  With the blessing of first-mover advantages and technology accumulation, China’s new energy vehicles have “cheated” all the way in the global wave of vehicle electrification and intelligence. After sitting firmly in the global new energy vehicle sales number one “ranking”, Chinese brand new energy vehicles have launched a “broken wall” type exploration in multiple dimensions, which also shows that the era of new energy top car competition is coming.

“Up in the sky” and “Into the water” new energy vehicles multidimensional “breaking the wall”

The sandy slopes are continuous and the banks of the Yellow River, a sci-fi teardrop-shaped car takes off vertically, driven by rotor blades around it, over a sandy slope with a drop of more than 70 metres, flying over a section of the Yellow River over 300 metres wide, before turning back and landing at its original starting point ……This is one of the series scenes of the recent flight reliability test of the flying car “Traveler X2” in Shapotou Scenic spot in Zhongwei, Ningxia, under the Northwest desert environment.

According to reports, “Traveler X2” is a two-seat intelligent electric flying car developed by Xiaopeng Huitian full Stack, a subsidiary of Xiaopeng Automobile. The whole fuselage is made of carbon fiber materials that take into account safety and lightweight, and has good aerodynamic performance. After successfully completing its maiden flight in June 2021, the Voyager X2 has so far conducted more than 3,000 test flights and obtained a manned flight permit in China earlier this year.

Coincidentally, the AE200, a five-seat pure electric flying car independently developed by Geely’s AEROFUGIA, is also advancing at full speed. On April 6, the first meeting of the Geely AEROFUGIA AE200 Manned electric Vertical Take-off and Landing Aircraft Type Qualification Committee (TCB) and the signing ceremony of the Special Qualification Certification Plan (PSCP) were held in Chengdu. This marks the official start of the airworthiness certification process for the largest level of “flying cars” in China.

The exploration of Geely and Xiaopeng in the field of flying cars shows that China’s new energy vehicles are making an “upward” breakthrough,, expanding the road from the ground to the low altitude, and building three-dimensional transportation that integrates land and air. In fact, China’s new energy vehicles can now not only “heaven”, but also “into the water” to solve the problem of urban waterlogging and trapped vehicles.

At the 2023 Shanghai Auto Show held in April, BYD’s high-end brand ‘Yangwang’, which occupies the “C position” by beating Maybach, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Porsche and other world-renowned luxury car brands, the first mass-produced model U8 has an emergency float function. When the vehicle accidentally strays into deep water, the driver can choose to activate the emergency floating mode, relying on the accurate four-wheel torque vector distribution ability to maintain the driving force of the vehicle, and obtain the ability to float out of the trap for a short time. In the weather such as typhoons and heavy rainstorms, which can easily lead to urban waterlogging, drivers can also safely drive through urban wading sections.

The sky can fly, the water like a boat, while breaking the form boundary, China’s new energy vehicles continue to break through the price.

The U8 and U9 models debuting at the Shanghai Auto Show are positioned at the million level. U8 focus on new energy hard off-road, more than 5 meters long, more than 2 meters wide, using the brand family style “time and space door” design, both has an excellent sense of science and technology, but also has a complex road conditions of intelligent escape and emergency avoidance ability. U9 is positioned in the pure electric performance supercar, zero hundred acceleration only 2 seconds, the appearance of the vehicle in the retention of the design elements of the classic supercar, but also adds a sense of the future of the electric supercar. At present, the U8 has officially opened the pre-sale, a total of luxury version and off-road player version of two versions, the official pre-sale price is 1.098 million yuan. In the 371st batch of “Road Motor Vehicle Manufacturers and Product Announcements” recently announced by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the U8 declaration information is among them, and it is clear that BYD has prepared for the listing of the car.

From technology to market multiple leading consolidating advantages

What supports China’s new energy vehicles to continuously “break the wall” is the first-mover advantage and technology accumulation. It is revealed that the U8 that can “enter the water” is equipped with BYD’s independent research and development of the ‘Yisifang’ technology platform, the core parts protection ability reached IP68 level, can avoid the core parts of the vehicle water failure when floating out of trouble in a short time, and the strong environmental adaptability of the four motors can maintain the driving force in the water to help the driver quickly escape. The “Million supercar” U9 vehicle is also equipped with the ‘Yisifang’ power system, and around the two pain points of supercar safety and comfort, the R & D team uses a number of innovative technologies to make the U9 able to take into account the two driving experiences of urban comfort and track limits.

According to BYD, Yisifang is a set of four motor independent drive as the core of the power platform, around the characteristics of new energy vehicles, Yisifang from the perception, decision-making, implementation of three dimensions of the new energy vehicle reconstruction. In addition, Yangwang also holds BYD’s full-stack self-developed intelligent body control system Yunnian, which is mainly composed of Yunnian intelligent detection architecture, Yunnian intelligent computing center, Yunnian intelligent control technology and key components, which can sense the state of people, cars and roads in real time, so as to effectively inhibit changes in body attitude and greatly reduce the risk of vehicle rollover. Wang Chuanfu, BYD’s chairman, once boasted: “In the most extreme circumstances, even if one wheel is lost, the vehicle can still run smoothly.” It is such a hardcore technical ability to look up at the 2023 Shanghai Auto Show a large number of “circle of fans”, many of which multinational car companies management teams are also queuing up to visit.

In the field of technology, not only BYD, FAW’s high-end brand Red Banner also has a non-negligible technical strength in the field of new energy vehicles. The relevant person in charge of Red Banner said that in the next five years, Red Banner brand will make “technical confidence” bloom in the global market through “All in” new energy and intelligence, and change the competitive pattern of the luxury car market. Since the beginning of this year, Red Banner high-frequency has released a series of heavy technical content, and has launched the “flag” super architecture FMEs, as well as its electric platform HME, intelligent platform HIS and hybrid platform HMP, forming the support of “one architecture and three platforms” at the technical level, fully supporting the research and development and manufacturing of Red Banner new energy models. And meet the current users for high intelligence, high performance, high quality and other multi-dimensional diversified needs.

Recently, in the electric vehicle underwater support challenge test held in the real car crash test room of China Automotive Technology and Research Center Co., LTD, Red Banner luxury pure electric car E-QM5 successfully passed the strict test of vehicle wading and bottom collision; Red Banner E-HS9, a luxury flagship pure electric SUV, successfully passed the testing and verification of basic scenarios and innovative scenarios set by the organizer in the second “Wisdom Xing Cup” C-V2X vehicle-road cloud integration practice held by CICV, becoming the first domestic production model to realize LTE-V2X driver assistance early warning application.

The technological advantages of China’s new energy vehicles are based on the advantages of China’s ultra-large scale market. On the one hand, compared with the auto market in developed countries and regions, China’s car ownership still has huge room for growth; On the other hand, compared with other parts of the world, Chinese consumers have a stronger acceptance and higher willingness to consume new things such as electric vehicles and intelligent driving. The diversity and typical types of landforms in China are also incomparable to other countries in the world. The most complex operating environment and the richest application scenarios can precisely become the driving force for innovation in the automotive industry, and can drive the upstream and downstream industry chain, the automotive aftermarket, and even the entire automotive industry ecology to achieve comprehensive technological innovation.

Flying cars are one such technological innovation. Industry insiders said that urban traffic congestion is increasing, it is particularly important to open up air roads, and flying cars have gradually become the direction of car travel reform. The person in charge of Xiaopeng Huitian introduced that the Traveler X2 is already the fifth generation flying car of Xiaopeng Huitian. The “flying over the Yellow River” is part of Xiaopeng Hutian’s “flying over China” plan. In addition to normal subject tests, it can also simultaneously explore future cross-river and cross-river operation scenarios, and accumulate data and experience such as research and development and flight testing for subsequent mass production products.

In mid-May, Guo Liang, president of AEROFUGIA, said at the Macao International Science and Technology Innovation Expo that China’s flying cars will officially open the road to commercialization from 2025 or 2026, which will be a revolution beyond vehicle electrification.

According to Morgan Stanley, the global flying car-related market will reach $1 trillion in 2040 and $9 trillion in 2050, with China’s share reaching 23%. Foreign media reports analysis, although Europe, the United States, Asia and other places are engaged in flying car research and development, but it is difficult to judge which model performance is better. However, because flying cars need to rely on battery functions, China has the whole industry chain of car batteries, so in the future mass production stage China is likely to have an advantage. So far, Chinese companies have led the world in the number of test flights.

Pattern reshaping,into the top car competition era

Throughout the new energy automobile industry, independent brand car companies have launched high-end brands and new models, relying on their respective technological and resource advantages, such as Dongfeng’s  VOYAH, Changan’s AVATR, Geely’s ZEEKR, and Great Wall’s SALOON. The average price of high-end models of some independent brands has exceeded 300,000 yuan, and even march to the top luxury car camp at the million yuan level, and the price of concept level products such as flying cars will also be about one million yuan.

At the same time, multinational car companies, as traditional luxury car giants, are “laying down their bodies” to grab the market.

On May 27, Mercedes-Benz’s new EQE pure electric SUV was officially announced on the market, and a total of four new models were launched, priced at 48600 yuan to 630,600 yuan. And this time the pricing of Mercedes-Benz has appeared “oil and electric upside down” – in the past, the pricing of Mercedes-Benz electric models is higher than that of fuel models, and this time the listing of EQE pure electric SUV directly passes the outside world’s expectation of “the same price of oil and electricity”, pulling the price of electric models under fuel models. In February this year, Mercedes-Benz CEO Kang Linsong told the media that the cost of electric vehicles at the same level is certainly higher than the same level of fuel vehicles, “if you observe the Chinese market, you will find that the relatively low price of electric vehicles competition is extremely fierce, but if we look at high-end cars, even luxury car market, you will find that the competition has not begun.”

Some analysts pointed out that although the “oil and electricity upside down”, but compared with the same level of NIO ES6, AVATR 11, IM LS7 and other independent brand models, Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV although there is no lidar, no NOA, no additional services such as power change, but the price is at least hundreds of thousands of yuan higher. Mercedes clearly wants to maintain a high brand premium in the era of electric vehicles.

In fact, as independent brands are accelerating the high-end process driven by new energy vehicles, the auto market pattern and brand class formed in the era of traditional fuel vehicles have begun to be broken.

Data so far this year show that the luxury car market is still relatively strong, despite a slight decline in the car market. According to the statistics of the association, a total of 816,100 high-end models of more than 300,000 yuan were sold in the first quarter, an increase of 32.5%. Some traditional luxury brands are falling behind, with Audi delivering 136,000 vehicles in the first quarter, down 15.6% from a year earlier. According to industry analysts, Audi’s decline is closely related to the rise of new energy independent high-end brands. Among them, LEADING IDEAL delivered a brilliant report card in the first quarter, with a total of 49,300 units of L9, L8 and L7 sales, which has exceeded traditional second-line luxury brands including Cadillac, Volvo and Lexus. Cadillac sold only 32,000 vehicles in the first quarter, down 32% year-on-year, and its only new energy product, pure electric SUV LYRIQ, has fallen since reaching a monthly sales peak of 850 vehicles in November last year, until April, when only double digits were left.

As Yuhui Zhao, vice president of ZEEKR Intelligent Technology, said, the future of the luxury car market will certainly belong to high-end intelligent electric vehicles, and China’s new energy vehicle brands have such advantages, as well as the opportunity to redefine new luxury.