Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng Motors revealed an exclusive inside view into its self-built wholly-owned factory in Zhaoqing, Guangdong Province.
The Zhaoqing Xpeng Motors Intelligent Industrial Park, birthplace of the super-long range sports sedan Xpeng P7, was built over a period of 15 months. On May 19, 2020 the factory received the official production license from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
“We are deeply proud of our achievement as a young company, in building our own wholly-owned smart manufacture base at Zhaoqing,” said He Xiaopeng, Chairman and CEO of Xpeng Motors.
“Xpeng is now the only new smart EV maker in China that has both self-owned and contracted plants. We are a firm believer that manufacturing is the foundation of smart cars. Only when you build solid powertrain and vehicle hardware, can you differentiate with data operation, autonomous driving and connectivity software,” He added.
“This not only gives us optimal insight into and control over our production process, it also demonstrates our capabilities in successfully managing our supply chain and executing major projects. This is a great base for future development in intelligent vehicle design and manufacture,” He concluded.
Spanning a planned area of 3,000 acres (2 million square metres), it has five cutting-edge workshops including stamping, welding, painting, final assembly, and battery pack production.
The factory is run by a 600-member professional team. 74% of the engineers are with 5+ year working experience with 78% joined from leading OEMs.
The stamping workshop is 100% automated. Steel plates are stamped and formed on the 6,600-ton large CNC (computer numerical control) automatic stamping production line, delivering as many as 12 pieces per minute, higher than the 10% industry average, with a precision range as narrow as 0.1 millimeter.
Equipped with an industry-leading information system, the production process is highly open and transparent, with real-time monitoring of processing parameters to ensure high quality consistency.
The Zhaoqing welding workshop is equipped with 210 ABB industrial robots, meticulously performing multiple processes including gluing, welding and aluminum plate riveting. Tier-1 and Tier-2 final assemblies reach a 100% automation rate, with the capability to manufacture steel-aluminum hybrid vehicle bodies.
The factory’s self-adaptive medium frequency welding machine achieves 30% energy saving, while the advanced visual gluing system yields gluing accuracy as fine as 0.5 millimeter.
Sophisticated styling requires exceptional painting techniques. The Zhaoqing factory’s thin film pretreatment and cathode electrophoretic technology effectively reduces wastewater discharge, while slag yield is also cut down by 94%, reducing energy consumption by approximately 25%, and achieving zero emission of heavy metal pollutants.
The painting workshop adopts world-class BASF high-throwing-power coating material, with B1B2+2K water-based varnish double-layer painting technology, significantly improving paint quality while protecting the environment too.
Thanks to an automatic material supply and distribution system, AGV technology, automatic gluing robots and assembly technology, all components are efficiently and meticulously assembled in the Zhaoqing factory.
All the key torque joints of CBUs (Complete Built Up) are tested online through a powerful digital production system, ensuring 100% quality control of all key torque joints of the build-up.
Battery Pack Workshop
The pack workshop utilizes an AGV flexible production line, combining high-precision visual systems and robots to execute intelligent operations. The intelligent end-of-line testing system conducts comprehensive testing – including 198 offline tests and 89 battery performance tests – for every battery pack, including insulation, SOC performance and BMS function to ensure that every battery pack meets the industry-leading IP68 sealing protection requirements.
The Xpeng P7 will go through 18 vigorous quality control procedures. Each vehicle will also go through over 1,700 dynamic and static tests, and 18 simulated road condition tests for control, braking, comfort, sealing, and abnormal sound to guarantee its quality.