Chinese electric vehicle maker Guangzhou Xiaopeng Motors Technology has raised around US$500 million to expand in the world’s largest car market. One of Tesla’s most prominent Chinese challengers, the carmaker won investment from Aspex, Coatue, Hillhouse Capital and Sequoia Capital China, the company said on Monday. The fundraising comes after China’s passenger car sales rebounded recently from a sharp fall in the first quarter of the year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Guangzhou-based start-up that sells under the brand Xpeng has raced past several milestones this year, including launching its second EV model, the P7 sports sedan in April. The P7 sports sedan is Xpeng’s second production model and has a driving range of about 706km on a single charge, the longest among electric vehicles sold in China. The range was verified by the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The P7, premiered at the Shanghai Auto Show last April, retails at between 240,000 yuan (US$34,240) and 370,000 yuan, nearly a third of the price of a Tesla Model S in China. Xpeng also secured the production licence for its self-built, fully-owned factory in Zhaoqing , in Guangdong province in May. Xpeng’s first production model, the G3 electric sport utility vehicle released in 2018, was previously assembled by contract manufacturer Haima Automobile, a subsidiary of state-owned car maker FAW Group. Founded in 2014, Xpeng counts IDG Capital, Alibaba Group Holding and Xiaomi among its major backers. It announced US$400 million of fresh capital in November 2019. Retail sales of sedans, SUVs, minivans and multipurpose vehicles within the world’s largest car market dropped 6.5 per cent to 1.68 million units in June from a year earlier, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA). Luxury car sales outpaced the overall market, the CPCA secretary general Cui Dongshu said. Sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs), which include battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, hit 85,600. The battery electric vehicle sector sold 67,000 units in June, with American manufacturer Tesla accounting for 23 per cent of the market. Cui said the association expects NEV sales in the second half of 2020 to be significantly higher than in the same period last year.