China’s Huawei plans foray into electric vehicles, report says
China’s Huawei is set to explore a strategic shift as it is planning to make electric vehicles under its own brand and could launch some models this year.
Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is in talks with state-owned Changan Automobile and other automakers to use their car plants to make its electric vehicles (EVs), according to a report by Reuters.
Huawei is also in discussions with Beijing-backed BAIC Group’s BluePark New Energy Technology to manufacture its EVs.
Huawei was placed on a trade blacklist by former US president Donald Trump-led administration over national security concerns. Many industry executives see little chance that blocks on the sale of billions of dollars of US technology and chips to the Chinese company, which has denied wrongdoing, will be reversed by his successor.
A Huawei spokesman has, however, denied the company plans to design EVs or produce Huawei branded vehicles.
“Huawei is not a car manufacturer. However through ICT (information and communications technology), we aim to be a digital car-oriented and new-added components provider, enabling car OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to build better vehicles,” the spokesperson said.
But sources say 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.
Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s consumer business group who led the company to become one of the world’s largest smartphone makers, will reportedly soon shift his focus to EVs.
The EVs will target a mass-market segment.
In the United States, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc are also developing auto-related technology or investing in smart-car startups.
According to reports, 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.
Also, reports say 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.
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