China's electric car industry heats up with Huawei joining the race

China’s electric car industry heats up with Huawei joining the race.(Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP)

China’s electric car industry heats up as Huawei joins the race

  • Aito M5 will be the first car with HarmonyOS operating system by Huawei, as the company makes its foray into the electric car race.
  • Huawei claims its hybrid car specs beats Tesla’s Model Y.

Around a week ago, Chinese electric car start-up Nio unveiled its second sedan, considered as the latest competitor to Tesla Inc.

While the latter may be the world’s best-known manufacturer of electric vehicles (EVs) – Chinese brands are quickly catching up. This time, adding to the list of companies that are giving the American EV giant a run for its money is mobile tech giant Huawei Technologies Co.

Huawei, best known for its telecommunications products and smartphones, isn’t making electric cars of their own but is working with automakers on car technology such as autonomous driving.

At its maiden launch, Huawei introduced the Aito M5–the first model under the Aito brand, (an acronym for “adding intelligence to auto”). 

Huawei’s consumer and business group executive director Richard Yu at the company’s winter product launch event yesterday said that the Aito M5 is part of automaker Seres.

Seres’ cars have previously only incorporated Huawei components, but not Huawei’s design.

That said, Aito M5 is the first car running on Huawei’s HarmonyOS operating system (OS) and it runs on both electricity and fuel, according to Yu.

Prior to this, Huawei had collaborated with Chinese automobile companies to launch cars like the SERES Hybrid sedan and the Avatar 11 electric SUV.

That said, this is not Huawei’s first foray into the automobile industry.

How do Huawei and Aito M5 come together?

Integrating the HarmonyOS into the new Seres car in China is a concept that is sought after by many electric car start-ups.

Many reckon that automobiles will eventually grow into a role not unlike the one smartphones play in the lives of consumers.

Reports quoting Yu’s one-hour presentation highlighted the features of Aito M5 which include peak power and driving range that is better than Tesla’s Model Y. 

Unlike Tesla’s cars, however, the Aito M5 is not purely powered by electricity as it has a fuel tank for extending driving range when the battery runs out of power.

“This model also has the ultimate cornering performance, which is stronger than McLaren. Its performance surpasses many fuel vehicles and surpasses many pure electric vehicles,” added Yu.

The Aito M5 interface also provides advanced sense and intelligent functions, “surpassing all models and car companies, such as L2 + level intelligent driving assistance, HarmonyOS smart split-screen”, and others.

To top it off, Huawei’s OS will integrate some of its smartphone-oriented technology into the vehicle. A Huawei smartwatch, for example, can be used to start the Aito M5.

Huawei’s push into electric cars signals a major shift in business focus for Huawei after two years of US sanctions that have cut its access to key supply chains, forcing it to sell a part of its smartphone business.

Even mobile giants such as Xiaomi Corp have been stepping up efforts in the world’s biggest market for such vehicles, as Beijing heavily promotes greener vehicles to reduce carbon emissions.