Chinese smart electric vehicle (EV) start-up Xpeng Motors has started taking orders for its new P5 model in four European markets, stepping up its global expansion pace. The Guangzhou-based company said the P5 family sedan, the first mass-produced EV guided by lidar sensors, will be sold in Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. But the first batch of exports will not be fitted with lidar, which stands for light detection and ranging, and instead come with the Xpilot 2.5 driving assistance system. The lidar-guided P5 sold in China is equipped with Xpilot 3.5, the latest version of the system. “The Xpeng P5’s arrival in four key European markets is a new demonstration of our commitment to Europe,” said Leon He, vice-president of Xpeng. “The P5 brings a host of differentiated features to a new customer base in Europe, a market where we are building ourselves as a long-term player.” Xpeng, backed by Alibaba Group Holding – owner of the South China Morning Post – and smartphone maker Xiaomi, has yet to unveil the prices for the Europe-bound cars. On the mainland, the basic non-lidar version, 460G, is priced at 157,900 yuan (US$24,977). The premium edition, or 600P, that comes with lidar technology provided by Livox, an affiliate of drone maker DJI, sells for 223,900 yuan. The export batch of cars comes with a large panoramic canopy glass sunroof and a 66 kilowatt hour battery pack that can power the car for 465km on a single charge. Alibaba-backed electric car cruises into market crowded by Tesla, NIO “Chinese EV start-ups need to prove their quality and styles in developed markets in the West as they hope to become global players,” said Chen Jinzhu, CEO of Shanghai Mingliang Auto Service. “But it will take time before their vehicles are well received by foreign customers.” Xpeng, along with Shanghai-based NIO and Beijing-headquartered Li Auto, are deemed as three rivals to Tesla in mainland China. NIO and Xpeng have also started exploring the European market by exporting their Chinese-made cars. Li Auto said last year that it was considering building a production base – possibly in Europe – as part of its global ambitions. Xpeng sold 36 vehicles in Norway last December, while NIO sold 67 units, according to data provider Elbilstatistikk. However, both were dwarfed by Tesla’s sales of 4,346 units. Beijing has ambitions of turning itself into a global EV powerhouse by 2025, with leading Chinese companies grasping core technologies and capturing a sizeable market share outside the mainland.