We shouldn’t expect anything resembling a car from Apple in the next few years due to the company’s infamous slow-and-steady R&D, but another Big Tech company, Huawei, is now reportedly aiming for its own EV release by the end of 2021, as Reuters reports.
Huawei is in talks with the rather large Chinese automakers Changan and BAIC to make cars this year, per Reuters:
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 two of the people familiar with the matter.
Huawei is also in discussions with Beijing-backed BAIC Group’s BluePark New Energy Technology to manufacture its EVs, said one of the two and a separate person with direct knowledge of the matter.
At a glance, the timeline is just ridiculous. Sure, Huawei is a huge company, actually “the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker,” as Reuters puts it.
But how could any tech company go from a rumoured EV to an actual, real-world production vehicle in less than twelve months? And, as if that weren’t enough, Reuters reports that it could be a number of models, plural!
The rumour is intriguing because it points to partnerships with established automakers. You might recognise Changan for its commercial vans and its partnership with Mazda. Changan was also one of the companies reportedly interested in buying Ford’s Brazilian plants after Ford announced it was shuttering the plants.
BAIC Group is another company that Jason Torchinsky referenced in his Chinese car spotting post. The acronym stands for Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp. and they’ve made the rounds here at Jalopnik before, as a big player in the Chinese auto industry.
So, if Huawei needed OEMs to make its EV, Changan and BAIC Group are not the worst companies to court. Huawei is denying any such rumours, however, and the auto companies are declining to comment, according to Reuters. It emphasised that it’s not a car manufacturer in a statement to Bloomberg News, but Huawei does not deny that it’s been involved in car or car-adjacent development for some time. Its development in car tech goes back a ways, per Reuters:
[Huawei] 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.
Sure, patent applications are not irrefutable proof of a forthcoming car, but given the history Huawei has with EV development we could see something, even if it’s just a prototype like Sony’s EV.
I would love to see Huawei do something fun like with the solar powered prototype, though I don’t see that much demand for a car like this:
Big Tech crowding into the auto industry has been big news lately but the reports will amount to nothing but vaporware until we see a functioning car from one of the tech giants.