Huawei joins China’s electric car race to compete with Tesla

The CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, Richard Yu, announced on December 23, 2021, that the first vehicle with HarmonyOS operating system will begin to be delivered in February 2022.

Evelyn Cheng | CNBC

BEIJING – Less than a week after China’s electric car launch Nio announced its newest competitor with Tesla, Huawei has published details of a vehicle with specifications that it claims beats the Model Y.

Chinese tech giant Huawei is best known for its telecom products and smartphones, and has said it will not make its own cars. But it has been working with automakers on car technology such as autonomous driving.

Richard Yu, chief executive officer and CEO of Huawei’s consumer business group, said Thursday at the company’s winter product launch event that the first car with Huawei’s HarmonyOS operating system will be the Aito M5. , a vehicle that runs on electricity and fuel.

Yu, who is also the CEO of Huawei’s smart car business solutions division, said it will start shipping around February 20 after the Lunar New Year.

Post-subsidy prices for the Aito M5 start at 250,000 yuan ($39,063). This is lower than Tesla’s Model Y, which starts at 280,752 yuan after subsidies.

On Saturday, Nio revealed the delivery of its ET5 electric sedan will be in September with prices starting at 328,000 yuan ($51,250) before subsidies. Nio’s ET7 sedan, scheduled for March delivery, starts at 448,000 yuan.

Yu claimed in his hour-long presentation that the Aito M5 offers more peak power and driving range than the Model Y. However, unlike Tesla’s car, the Aito M5 is not fully electric because it has a fuel tank to extend the driving range. when the battery runs out.

Start up Li Auto features a similar fuel-powered range extender for the Li One, its latest model has a list price of 338,000 yuan, with no subsidies.

Some of the other features Yu describes include double-layer soundproof glass.

“You’ll know if it’s premium by sound,” Yu said via the company’s English translation of his Mandarin-language remarks. “We can provide a ‘library-grade’ quality experience.”

Huawei’s Own OS

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

But the blacklist removed Huawei from Google’s Android operating system. Huawei started working on HarmonyOS in 2016.

Yu opened and closed Thursday’s event with the same description of the company as a survivor. The in-vehicle presentation took place in the final hour of the 2.5-hour event announcing foldable smartphones, new laptops, and prescription smart glasses.

“Many waves of sanctions over the past three years have pushed us into the longest winter, because no winter has been as long as three years,” he said. “Despite the great difficulties, we have enjoyed strong support from consumers and partners around the globe.”


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