China's XPeng G9 beats every other EV on the road.
The selection of electric vehicles for consumers to choose from continues to grow. Many now have a decent range of at least 300 miles and more attainable alternatives like the Chevrolet Equinox EV are coming.
But one area that still stops many consumers from making the switch to EVs is the time it takes to charge the battery. Filling up with gas is a five-minute affair, but even fast chargers still require over 20 minutes of your time for a full charge in many cases.
This is why Chinese automaker XPeng is making a splash with its new flagship SUV, the G9. It is now the world's fastest-charging EV that can support charging speeds of up to 480 kW. At a compatible charging station, a 480-kW outlet can add up to 200 km (around 124 miles) of range in only five minutes.
Those charging numbers are, however, based on the CLTC (China Light Duty Vehicle Test Cycle) rating that is more generous that the USA's own EPA standard. Still, the G9's ability to recharge quickly could win over many buyers; the battery can be replenished from 10 to 80% in a claimed 15 minutes.
One of the fastest-charging EVs in North America, the Hyundai Ioniq 5, is capable of hooking up to a 350 kW charger. Its battery can be recharged from 10 to 80% in 18 minutes; that's only three minutes longer than the G9. A five-minute charge will add around 68 miles to the Ioniq 5. Even when adjusted to the EPA standard, the G9 does seem to have a generous advantage here.
XPeng claims that the G9 leads the way in the midsize SUV segment for range as well. It has a maximum CLTC range of 702 km or about 436 miles, indicating that its EPA rating will still beat that of the Tesla Model X, which has a maximum EPA-rated range of 348 miles.
A drag-reducing design and an energy recovery system contribute to XPeng's claim that the G9 has 5-10% more real-world usable range than other mainstream EVs.
Of course, the ability to recharge at high speeds means very little without access to compatible chargers. Electrify America, which is currently in the process of rebranding its different charging points, only provides chargers of up to 350 kW. So even if the XPeng G90 came here, Americans wouldn't be able to take advantage of its fast-charging abilities. By contrast, XPeng recently unveiled its 1,000th charging location that includes its 480-kW S4 superchargers.
The new G9's fast-charging capability and 800 V mass-production Silicon Carbide (SiC) platform are reminders that China is to be taken seriously in the area of EV development. We've already seen XPeng's P5 sedan which is the first production car to come with LiDAR sensors.
The G9 is just as advanced as the P5, with its own LiDAR sensors that cover 180 degrees to reduce hazardous blind spots. A front-view camera and up to 31 sensors allow the G9 to accurately identify objects and avoid collisions.
Inside, there is a plush cabin with more high-tech features than you'd find in many upscale German models. A Dynaudio Confidence sound system comes with 28 speakers, and Dolby Atmos technology provides occupants with an immersive 5D experience that vibrates the seats and changes the lighting when watching films or listening to music.
A massive digital interface is situated on the dashboard and stretches far enough to allow the front passenger to interact with it.
Outside, the XPeng G9 has a modern, clean design that lives up to its flagship status. Over the years, we have come to associate Chinese car design with copycat details or tacky, over-the-top chrome. But the G9's closed-off front end, slim headlights, and flush door handles all look like the elements of a premium vehicle.
Not only does the G9 charge quickly, but it goes quickly as well. Dual-motor, all-wheel-drive variants make as much as 551 horsepower and will reach 62 mph in only 3.9 seconds. One of seven driving modes includes a special Boost Mode that will get the G9 to reach peak torque in 0.15 seconds. Less powerful rear-wheel-drive versions will take 6.4 seconds to reach 62 mph.
Although XPeng says that the G9 has been designed for international markets, there is no sign of it coming to America anytime soon. In China, the EV is priced from 309,000 RMB which translates to about $43,600 at current rates. First deliveries will begin next month in that region.