July 20, 2020 / 2:02 AM / 24 days ago

Alibaba-backed EV maker Xpeng raises $500 million

A woman walks by an Xpeng Motors showroom at its headquarters in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China May 18, 2020. REUTERS/Yilei Sun

BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Xpeng Motors, backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N), said on Monday it has raised around $500 million in its latest funding round.

As enthusiasm builds for more climate-friendly vehicles, shares of EV makers, including Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and Nio Inc (NIO.N), have surged in recent months and auto makers are looking to the markets for funds.

Li Auto, Xpeng’s rival, filed for a U.S. initial public offering earlier this month.

Investors in Xpeng’s C+ funding round include Aspex, Coatue, Hillhouse and Sequoia Capital China, six-year-old Xpeng said in a statement, without disclosing the company’s valuation.

Xpeng, led by Chief Executive He Xiaopeng, is making electric G3 sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) and P7 sedans with autonomous driving capabilities in two Chinese plants.

The funding will enable Xpeng to further develop intelligent vehicle technologies. The company plans to have about 200 showrooms in China by the end of this year.

Xpeng has delivered 19,376 G3 SUVs as of June.

China’s sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) fell for a twelfth straight month in June. NEVs include battery-powered electric, plug-in petrol-electric hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

Last November, Xpeng raised $400 million from investors including Xiaomi Corp (1810.HK). Sources told Reuters at the time that investors valued the company at nearly $4 billion.

Reporting by Yilei Sun in Beijing and Julie Zhu in Hong Kong; editing by Barbara Lewis and Vinay Dwivedi

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