XPeng To Offer Cheaper Batteries. The EV Industry Continues to Mature.
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XPeng To Offer Cheaper Batteries. The EV Industry Continues to Mature.

Chinese EV maker XPeng is making a battery decision it hopes will give it a leg up on the competition.

By Al Root
Thu, Mar 4, 2021 12:13amGrey Clock 2 min

Batteries and battery- management systems are to an electric vehicle what a high-quality internal combustion engine is to a gasoline-powered car, so battery decisions can make or break an EV maker. Chinese EV maker XPeng is making a battery decision it hopes will give it a leg up on the competition.

XPeng (ticker: XPEV) is going to start selling LFP-battery-powered electric vehicles soon. China’s Ministry of Industrial Information & Technology recently announced that XPeng was using LFP batteries in vehicles.

LFP is short for lithium-iron-phosphate. Iron is the “F” in that acronym because its elemental symbol is “Fe.” Lithium-iron-phosphate batteries are a little cheaper than top-of-the line lithium-ion batteries, which contain elements such as cobalt and nickel.

LFP batteries are more cost-effective, but with a trade-off. They don’t pack quite as much punch as their more expensive cousins, so the range of the cars that use them is affected.

XPeng, in this case, probably doesn’t mind because most drivers don’t need 482 kilometres, or even 320 kilometres, of daily range. The benefit of a lower purchase cost, for many car buyers, far exceeds the downside of a lower per-charge range. The company will continue to offer vehicles with top-of-the line lithium-ion batteries as well.

It’s an interesting decision for investors to ponder. Offering different batteries in an EV is a little like offering different engines in traditional automobiles. In traditional cars, however, engine options are usually tied to horsepower and speed. In the case of EVs, battery options are more about range.

Billions of dollars are being invested in the EV industry to come up with more powerful, longer-lasting batteries. QuantumScape (QS), for instance, is working on revolutionary solid-state battery technology. QuantumScape doesn’t have sales yet, but it is one of the most valuable automotive suppliers in the world. That’s how important batteries are to the EV industry.

QuantumScape’s batteries will, holders of the stock hope, be less expensive for the same range as existing technology. Commercial offerings are years down the road, though. XPeng’s move is another way to offer less expensive EVs today.

A lower- end XPeng model P7 costs about 230,000 yuan, or about $35,000. With LFP batteries, that price might drop 20,000 to 30,000 yuan, or perhaps $3,000 to $5,000. XPeng declined to comment on new pricing for EVs with the less expensive batteries, but noted that the information will come out soon.

It feels like a sound strategic move and one that investors can expect other EV makers to copy. Car buyers are still learning how to buy EVs. Range and cost, compared with traditional cars, can be a mystery. As options such as LFP batteries proliferate, buyers will begin to feel more comfortable comparing EV models, just like they do when selecting what engine they want in their automobile.

XPeng stock was up 3.3% in premarket trading. S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up about 0.5%.

The rise might not be due to the batteries, though. XPeng stock has been on a wild ride lately. Shares dropped 11% Tuesday after investors digested news that deliveries in February were lower than in January. February, however, was affected by the Lunar New Year holiday. Monthly deliveries at Li Auto (LI) and NIO (NIO) dipped as well.

Year to date, XPeng share are down about 26% after finishing 2020 up almost 200% from the stock’s $15 initial public offering price.



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Milestone birthdays and anniversaries, weddings, and graduations are momentous life occasions that some like to mark with large and elaborate celebrations.

And the deep-pocketed set are still in catch-up mode after a party-throwing standstill during the pandemic that went on for many months during the height of the lockdowns and social distancing. Bashes since then have become ever more extravagant and experiential—mere get-togethers, they’re not.

Hosts are also seeking any excuse to throw an event and having parties with the same “wow” factor for far less significant reasons, or for micro-occasions as they’re called, and even “just because,” according to luxury event planners who work with this elite set.

Colin Cowie, a planner based in New York and Miami who regularly orchestrates multimillion-dollar gatherings and was behind Jennifer Lopez’s and Ben Affleck’s wedding, calls it the “event revolution.”

“Large-scale events have become the norm,” Cowie says. “The wealthy, who are used to celebrating their life moments in a big way couldn’t do anything during the pandemic and are now going all out for anything they host.”

His company, Colin Cowie Lifestyle, plans 30% more events today than pre-Covid and has a lineup booked for the next two years. An example includes an upcoming million-dollar dinner party in the Hamptons simply to socialise with friends. It’s an affair with free-flowing Dom Perignon, centre-cut filet mignons, and unlimited caviar.

Colin Cowie Lifestyle plans 30% more events today than pre-Covid
Calen Rose

Other high-end planners also attribute the rise of over-the-top celebrations to a “live life to the fullest” attitude that’s become prevalent in the last few years. But they say that these parties aren’t necessarily about spending more than before—rather, they’re increasingly creative, thoughtful, and, with respect to weddings, longer.

Lynn Easton, a Charleston-based planner, says that her typical wedding used to span two days and entailed a rehearsal dinner plus the wedding itself. “Now, it’s a five-day bonanza with events like a groomsman lunch,” Easton says.

Easton also plans glitzy milestone birthdays such as one for a 60th where the host flew 60 friends and family to a private island. Dinners were multi-hour affairs in various locations around the isle with the showpiece being a five-course meal where the food was presented on dishes that were hand-carved in ice.

Another planner, Victoria Dubin, based in New York and Miami, says that, in a new precedent, the weddings she’s tapped to design kick off with striking welcome meals. She recently planned an al fresco rehearsal dinner at the Brooklyn pizzeria Roberta’s that recreated a Tuscan garden. Elements included potted herbs, lemon trees, vintage olive oil cans, ceramic plates, and table cards presented with palm leaves in limoncello cans.

Another planner, Victoria Dubin, recently planned an al fresco rehearsal dinner at the Brooklyn pizzeria Roberta’s that recreated a Tuscan garden.
Aletiza Photo

Pashmina shawls hung from chairs to keep guests warm, and freshly baked pizzas and Aperol spritzes were in ready supply throughout the evening.

Stacy Teckin, the groom’s mother, hosted the party with her husband, Ian, and says she sought to pull off a dinner that made an impression on their guests. “The wedding was delayed because of Covid, and now that we had the chance to celebrate, we wanted to go all out,” Teckin says. “I’m not sure we would have done that before.”

In another example, acclaimed planner Norma Cohen threw a wild safari-themed bar mitzvah for a client.

A four-day wedding in Paris where the ceremony was in a historic chateau and the host paid for guests to stay at Hotel Crillon
Norma Cohen Productions

The memorable occasion transpired at Spring Studios in downtown Manhattan and saw 400 guests be transported to the African plains: Details included mammoth replicas of wildlife such as giraffes and elephants, servers in safari themed attire, and entertainment dressed like giraffes. The event was one of several over-the-top parties Cohen’s arranged recently.

A four-day wedding in Paris where the ceremony was in a historic chateau and the host paid for guests to stay at Hotel Crillon, one of the city’s most luxurious properties, also ranks high in Cohen’s memory.

Then there’s a destination party in London that Cohen planned for a client who was turning 40. It as a six-day affair with dinners at swanky spots such as Cipriani, the Arts Club, and Cecconi’s at Soho House. The finale was Lancaster House, a mansion in St. James, where guests were entertained by cabaret dancers from the famed Ibiza club Lio Ibiza and feasted on prime rib and lamb chops and imbibed on Krug champagne.

“People today don’t want to host events,” Cohen says. “They want experiences that take you away to a different place and make you forget that the real world exists.”