The news about Apple coming for Tesla with an Apple car has been pretty constant over the past several years, but Huawei, another phone maker, has actually made a plugin vehicle. CarBuzz reports that Huawei is also coming for Tesla with a new plugin vehicle, but unlike Apple, the phone maker actually delivered on its promise in April by delivering its SF5, which it co-developed with Cyrus.
In February 2021, CarBuzz reported that Huawei planned to create a plugin vehicle, and in April it actually beat Apple to producing a car. Huawei’s first vehicle was a range-extended crossover, the SF5, which “features a 1.5-liter four-pot that acts as a generator, feeding a battery pack that powers a pair of electric motors.”
Huawei’s new vehicle is the Aito M5, which the company hopes will compete with the Tesla Model Y, the second most popular electric vehicle in the Chinese market. Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business group, spoke at the company’s winter product launch and said that the Aito M5 will offer superior peak power and range to that of Tesla’s Model Y. But it’s actually a range-extended plugin vehicle….
Yu also spoke about the sound quality. “You will know whether it is premium or not by the sound. We are able to offer the ‘library grade’ quality experience.”
The new M5 will also use Huawei’s HarmonyOS operating system that integrates with other Huawei products. Huawei customers can even use their smartwatches to start their vehicles. Huawei believes that transforming your vehicle into a smart device similar to your phone is the future. Interestingly, its operating system, HarmonyOS, was Huawei’s answer to Google banning it from using the Android operating system. Yu spoke on this as well.
“Many rounds of sanctions of the past three years have plunged us into the longest winter because no winter is as long as three years.
“In spite of the great difficulties, we have received strong support from consumers and partners across the globe.”
Specs & Pricing
GasGoo, a China automotive news site, noted that the Huawei Aito M5 starts from $39,250 that it can generate 3.2 kWh of electricity with one liter of fuel through its 1.5T four-cylinder range extender 3.0. According to Huawei, the M5 will allow for an NEDC range of 1,195 km on a full charge. The M5 is also designed with double-layered sound-proof glass which enables that library-like quality that Yu mentioned.
The M5 is equipped with:
- 1 CMS camera.
- 1 DMS camera.
- 1 DVR camera.
- 1 visual sensing camera.
- 4 APA cameras.
- 12 long-range ultrasonic radars.
- 3 millimeter-wave radars.
Test drives of the M5 will be available starting January 20 and deliveries will start after the Chinese New Year.
The Real Competition
Although a few headlines have touted the M5 as another vehicle coming for Tesla, I agree with the CarBuzz piece that this is an unfair comparison. Although it is a competitor of Tesla’s in the sense that it uses electricity, it’s probably more of a competitor to gas-powered vehicles in its class, and thus helping Tesla achieve its goal of accelerating our transition to electric transport and sustainable energy.
Elon Musk has said before that the enormous amount of gasoline vehicles are Tesla’s real competition. This is still true. And the M5, in that sense, counts as a gas-powered vehicle since it’s an advanced hybrid.
It’s important to remember that many of these companies — whether they are smartphone makers like Apple and Huawei, or other startups such as Nikola, or legacy automakers such as VW and GM — often seek to compete with Tesla because Tesla is the leader of the EV market, but they are more so helping to replace gasoline and diesel vehicles.
Tesla doesn’t advertise nor have the need to advertise yet, but it is always in the news, so it makes sense for these automakers to mention Tesla in their press releases, tweets, and other forms of social media — because the media may pick up on and run these stories of how [insert company name here] will create an EV to beat the Tesla [insert model name here].