How to launch an electric car brand onto the global stage as a world-leading innovator

XPENG is not only a leading manufacturer of smart electric vehicles in China - it is developing and building world-leading mobility, from prototyping flying cars to some of the most advanced software and AI in the market, including laser technology for self-driving cars. 

Since it launched its first car in 2018, the company has experienced an exponential growth in its home market. But as it prepared to launch in Europe, it faced potential perceptions of looking similar to other EV brands in the fast-growing category.

However, where XPENG stands apart from competitors is its focus on transforming the mobility industry through experience. As a new entrant to the global EV stage, XPENG is developing mobility experiences designed with the new generation in mind: people who live surrounded by smart devices and personalised gear. Tech, to them, isn’t neon lights, Pac-man games and oversize screens. It’s ambient, always available and helpful in their daily lives. 

We were tasked by XPENG to create a brand to grow outside China. Building on its people-first philosophy of intelligent mobility, we designed a brand that breaks away from the category codes of automotive to embrace the more modern, youthful and creative codes of lifestyle technology.

Designing intelligent cars that put people before performance

We worked closely with XPENG to build a positioning and design system that would take the Chinese brand global, creating a platform that would also pave the way for its eventual expansion beyond cars into broader forms of mobility, be that road or air.

What makes XPENG stand out in the competitive EV space is its expertise in software experience and AI, including its first use of autonomous driving technology LiDAR placing it among world leaders in the self-driving market. 

While other automotive brands compete on hardware spec sheets, XPENG’s people-first approach centres on mobility as an experience and extension of ourselves - thoughts and all.

We created a brand system inspired by XPENG’s pioneering  use of LiDAR - which creates a point cloud, a collection of millions of highly accurate 3-dimension points in space that map to the cars surroundings, allowing it to intelligently respond to its drivers wants and needs.

We focused on the distinctive letter ‘X’ within the XPENG name, creating a colourful, energetic and intuitive space that comes alive to the world around it, scanning, adapting, listening and revealing what matters most to its customers. 

The use of responsive colour gradients and everyday imagery combines to create a bold, vibrant and relatable brand that puts people before performance, and sets it apart in a category that can often be cold, dystopian and hardware focused.

Beyond China, beyond the road

The brand evolution clarifies the business’ direction as a mobility company, not only focused on automotive - opening new avenues of innovation beyond the road. 

The new brand has enabled XPENG to brings its people-first philosophy to the fore, aligning it with a more European culture - where technology blends into our life environments and reveals itself when it matters. Now the business is ready to make a significant push as a unique mobility player in Europe in 2023.

“Wolff Olins’ delivery really matched my expectation, presenting a global point of view. I highly appreciate the team’s work - and I am grateful for all these achievements.”
Summer Ji, XPENG Head of Marketing

NB: Some photography included credited to XPENG.

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