What happened

Shares of Chinese electric car maker XPeng (NYSE:XPEV) are up a strong 9.6% in 11:45 a.m. EST Friday trading. XPeng issued a pair of press releases this morning that appear to be fueling the drive higher.

So what

In the first announcement, XPeng revealed a new "Next-gen Autonomous Driving Architecture" using autonomous driving software in conjunction with laser for imaging, detection and ranging, or lidar, hardware to improve its cars' object recognition while driving. XPeng boasted that it is the first company to introduce lidar in its production models, starting with the 2021 model year lineup.

In a separate announcement, XPeng unveiled its P7 Wing limited edition "super-long range sports sedan." The cheapest, rear-wheel-drive version of the new car will retail for 366,900 Chinese yuan, or about $55,900 after subsidies. A four-wheel-drive version will cost 409,000 yuan, a little over $62,300.  

XPeng P7 electric cars.

Image source: XPeng.

Now what

If you back out the $3,500 Chinese "new energy vehicle" subsidy from these prices, this results in presubsidy prices of about $59,400 for the RWD version of the P7 and $65,800 for the 4WD.

XPeng refers to the P7 Wing as its "flagship" car. When you compare its cost to that of a Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) model -- the assumed standard in electric cars -- without subsidies, even the most expensive P7 model costs about 5% less than the cheapest Tesla Model S.

That may not sound like much of a discount, or much of an advantage to XPeng in trying to get consumers to buy its cars rather than Tesla's. On the other hand, the most expensive Model S costs closer to $111,500 -- about 70% more than 4WD P7. That price differential may be enough to make a difference and make some sales for XPeng.

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