Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has denied that the company is planning to design an original electric vehicle (EV) or produce its own branded car, refuting a Reuters report which cited people claiming knowledge on the matter.
Huawei, which is also the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, is in the midst of an attempt to shift away from consumer electronics following the impact of US sanctions, Reuters reported.
A Huawei spokesperson denied the plans in a response to Pandaily.
“Huawei’s direction for smart car solutions remains unchanged. Huawei does not make cars. We aim to focus on ICT (information and communications technology), and supply incremental components of intelligent vehicles to help car OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) build better vehicles,” the spokesperson said.
According to the sources quoted in the Reuters report, the Chinese tech giant is in talks with state-owned Changan Automobile and other carmakers regarding the use of their manufacturing plants to make original Huawei EVs. The report also hinted at the company’s intention to roll out a range of fresh models later this year.
Huawei is already collaborating with Changan and EV battery supplier CATL to develop high-end EVs. The first vehicle model, reported to be a mid-sized all-electric SUV, is expected to make its debut this year.
The firm is also in negotiations with BAIC Group’s BluePark New Energy Technology as a potential manufacturer for its EVs, the report said, adding that the company has already started designing the model and approaching suppliers.
Official documents indicate that Huawei was awarded at least four EV-related patents related last week, including technologies such as an EV-to-EV charging method, which allows car users to share battery capacity, and IoV (Internet of Vehicles) security communications.
In 2019, Huawei was placed on the US government’s Entity List, which bars American firms from exporting technology to various Chinese entities. The move cut Huawei off from Google’s Android operating system and threatened its hardware supply, including key chipsets.
In November 2020, the firm sold its budget smartphone sub-brand Honor to a consortium of over 30 agents, dealers and government-backed entities, asserting it was under “tremendous pressure” to do so.
In January, Reuters reported that Huawei is holding early-stage talks to sell its premium smartphone series, the P and Mate product lines. The news was later refuted by the company as well as Founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei.
As more and more tie-ups are established between China’s tech giants and traditional automakers, the race to become the leader of clean energy vehicles in the world’s largest auto market is on.
Search giant Baidu announced in January that it is setting up a new company with Geely to produce smart EVs. iPhone assembler Foxconn announced a joint venture with Geely, and is in talks with startup Faraday Future regarding the possible production of electric cars.
In November of last year, Alibaba announced the establishment of Zhiji Motor, an EV partnership with Shanghai-based auto giant SAIC.
Reports have also surfaced, claiming that Huawei rival Xiaomi has decided to build cars. The company responded that while it is closely watching developments in the industry, it has yet to initiate any formal projects.
The Chinese government hopes to see 30% of cars sold domestically by 2025 to have smart connectivity and has been providing extensive policy support to the EV sector, including tax subsidies, improvements to license plate laws, and registration benefits.