Recent rumours that Huawei was planning to market its own car have turned out to be true, although strictly speaking this is not actually a product of the Chinese tech giant that’s mostly known for its smartphones.
The SF5 range-extended electric car is produced by Huawei’s Chinese car-making partner Seres, but the updated version that you see here will be sold through Huawei flagship stores in China, and it also incorporates some of the electronic firm’s technologies.
Huawei Executive Director Richard Yu believes that this partnership will set a precedent for both the consumer electronics and new energy vehicle industries. “In the future, we will not only provide leading smart car solutions to help partners build better intelligent vehicles, but also help them sell those vehicles through our retail network across China,” Yu said.
The Seres SF5 is powered by two electric motors that collectively produce 405 kW and 820 N.m and the company is claiming a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 4,7 seconds. Although the batteries only allow a range of 180 km on electric power alone, there is a four-cylinder engine on board that acts as a range extender, ultimately allowing the car to cover 1 000 km. A single-motor version will also be offered, but the company has not provided further details about this.
The cabin is very much a Huawei affair, with the firm’s HiCar technology allowing for seamless integration between the user’s smartphone and the vehicle’s central infotainment system. The music that you’re playing on your phone, for instance, can continue seamlessly on the car’s system as soon as you step inside.
Buyers can also look forward to an interactive voice control system and a three-dimensional surround sound system tuned by Huawei Sound. Occupants will get to enjoy this “authentic and immersive opera-like sound quality” from the comfort of luxurious front seats that are equipped with a massage function.
But now that Huawei has set the precedent, will other electronic firms follow its lead into the automotive realm?
Huawei will surely be glad to have a headstart on its U.S. rival Apple, which has reportedly been speaking to a number of mainstream car manufacturers about potentially partnering up to produce and sell electric cars. Earlier this year it was reported that Apple was in early-stage talks with Hyundai, although the Korean carmaker later confirmed that a deal was not struck. The latest rumours suggest that Apple could be looking beyond the traditional carmakers to get its foot through the automotive door, with Bloomberg recently naming Magna International as a potential partner. Yes, that’s the same Magna that almost bought Opel 12 years ago.