Electric Vehicles

Reeling from US sanctions, Huawei is planning to foray into the EV market, could produce a working model by the end of this year

Smartphone manufacturers are switching to other business ventures like electric cars.

According to a Chinese media report by LatePost a week ago, Xiaomi had planned to foray into the electric vehicle market. Its electric car project will be led by company founder and CEO Lei Jun, the report said.

Similarly, Apple too has been working over the years to get a pie of the electric vehicle market. The latest report is that Apple’s supplier Foxconn reached an agreement with Fisker to produce electric cars.

And finally, Huawei too is participating in the electric car market. As per a Reuters report,  HUAWEI is planning to make electric cars and sell them under the eponymous brand.The company – whose giant smartphone business has been on a sharp decline lately due to US trade sanctions – has been in talks with state-owned Changan Automobile and few other names in China to make its electric vehicles at their manufacturing facilities. More importantly, sources familiar with the latest developments claim that HUAWEI could launch ‘some models’ in 2021 itself. 

“Huawei has started internally designing the EVs and approaching suppliers at home, with the aim of officially launching the project as early as this year, three of the sources said.

Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s consumer business group who led the company to become one of the world’s largest smartphone makers, will shift his focus to EVs, said one source.”

The upcoming HUAWEI electric vehicles will reportedly have a mass-market approach, unlike the rumoured ‘Apple Car’, which is said to be a luxury drive with no aim of competing against the likes of Tesla’s lower-priced EVs such as the Model 3.

China’s local EV industry has witnessed a surge lately, with the uptake of electric vehicles said to go up at a rapid pace in the coming years. As for HUAWEI, a foray in the domain of electric vehicles makes sense, more so as an alternative business opportunity after getting its smartphone hammered by sanctions. Plus, fellow names such as Foxconn and Baidu are also harboring their own electric vehicle ambitions as well.

HUAWEI has been a player in the EV industry for a while now

HUAWEI is said to have recently received four electric vehicle-related patents in China. Additionally, the company has partnerships with the likes of Daimler AG and General Motors concerning EV technologies, and has been developing related solutions such as in-car software systems and sensors for a while now.

Back in 2019, HUAWEI introduced what it calls the world’s first 5G communications hardware for cars that was based on the in-house Balong 5000 chip. And in July last year, Chinese automaker BYD launched its 5G-equipped Han electric car that ran on HUAWEI’s HarmonyOS car platform.

Growing EV Market

Chinese technology firms have been stepping up their focus on EVs in the world’s biggest market for such vehicles, as Beijing heavily promotes greener vehicles as a means of reducing chronic air pollution.Sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs), including pure battery electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, are expected to make up 20% of China’s overall annual auto sales by 2025.Industry forecasts put China’s NEV sales at 1.8 million units this year, up from about 1.3 million in 2020.

Huawei’s ambitious plans to make its own cars will see it join a raft of Asian tech companies that have made similar announcements in recent months, including Baidu Inc and Foxconn.In the United States, Amazon.com Incand Alphabet Inc are also developing auto-related technology or investing in smart-car startups.Huawei has been developing a swathe of technologies for EVs for years including in-car software systems, sensors for automobiles and 5G communications hardware.

The company has also formed partnerships with automakers such as Daimler AG, General Motors Co and SAIC Motor to jointly develop smart auto technologies.It has accelerated hiring of engineers for auto-related technologies since 2018.Huawei was awarded at least four patents related to EVs this week, including methods for charging between electric vehicles and for checking battery health, according to official Chinese patent records. Huawei’s push into the EV market is currently separate from a joint smart vehicle company it co-founded along with Changan and EV battery maker CATL in November, two of the sources said.

Kiran Fernandes

Kiran is your friendly neighbourhood tech enthusiast who's passionate about all kinds of tech, goes crazy over 4G and 5G networks, and has recently sparked an interest in sci-fi and cosmology.

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