Huawei and Xiaomi are narrowing the way for the Apple electric vehicle
Huawei i Xiaomi could show the company in the near future Apple whether it is wise to enter the race with already established manufacturers in the field of electric and autonomous vehicles, and how thorny that path is for an IT company.
Two of China’s top few smartphone makers have joined BYD Co. and Tesla Inc. in the increasingly tight Chinese market electric vehicles. Their success or failure could serve as a guide for Apple, if one day it decides to enter the global race, although this hints at least three or four years back.
Huawei Technologies Co. it received orders for 80,000 units of its first SUV Aito M7 in the first 50 days after the launch in September, and the subsequent release of the Avatr 12, a luxury coupe, and Luxeed S7 sedan it put the wind at their backs. It’s arguably a solid start, but it still lags behind the more than 300,000 electric vehicles BYD sold in October, 90% in China, putting them in direct competition with Tesla.
Xiaomi has developed its operating system for cars and is expected to debut in the world of electric vehicles to have in the first half of next year, following the recent preliminary approvals of safety certificates by the Chinese authorities.
Huawei and Xiaomi – from small household appliances to electric cars
These two companies are significantly different from their competitors in the field of electric vehicles. Both offer a wide range of products, from WiFi routers to white goods and various appliances, and subcontract a large number of manufacturing parts to companies such as Foxconn.
Also, they are focused on creating platforms and ecosystems – catalogs of software that enable seamless connection of devices to share files and communicate with each other. Unlike them, BYD and Tesla mostly offer autonomous vehicles and do most of their production in-house.
Instead of learning from automakers, Apple is more likely to learn from its Chinese competitors in the smartphone world. The idea of an “iCar” is not just a fantasy – Hyundai Motor Co. in 2021, he casually confirmed rumors that he was working with the iPhone maker on a new vehicle before distancing himself from the statement.
Apple expects to take at least half a decade to launch an autonomous electric vehicle, as it previously reported Bloomberg News.
Huawei has already said it wants to look less like a carmaker and instead act more as a development partner and supplier of specialized automotive technologies such as operating systems, software and assisted driving functions. For this purpose, it cooperates with at least five Chinese car manufacturers.
Xiaomi’s approach may be a little different. Many of the products that bear its name are actually developed and assembled by other companies, with the Shanghai firm trying to add its logo to ensure that these devices can be interconnected with other members of the Xiaomi family.
We can expect the same strategy to be applied to their vehicles, which will initially be built by BAIC Motor Corp.
When evaluating new offerings, consumers and partners will wonder what exactly these companies can bring new. BYD and Tesla have years of experience in vehicle development and production, unlike Huawei and Xiaomi, which sell rebranded models from traditional car manufacturers.
BYD and Tesla have years of experience in vehicle development and production, unlike Huawei and Xiaomi
The answer lies in whether drivers see cars as a product that requires a long history and deep heritage in safety and structural integrity. Modern consumers are very interested in a large screen in the cabin, wireless phone charging and connectivity. Their safety is certainly guaranteed thanks to strict regulations.
In the era electric vehicles, range and reliability are far more important factors. Electric vehicles are technically more akin to a giant laptop on wheels than traditional polluters with SUS engines. That’s why Huawei and Xiaomi can be sure they have a chance even if they’ve barely sold anything bigger than a suitcase so far.
However, as with any new player in the auto industry, their success is not guaranteed. Automakers from Tesla to Toyota Motor Corp. are extremely focused on software development and connectivity, aware that automotive electronics are a key selling point, while Elon Musk highlighted the feature smart calling of its vehicles that brings them to the user. Still, missed deadlines, including the implementation of fully autonomous driving and battery swapping, are crushing Tesla’s reputation.
These are pitfalls that Huawei and Xiaomi will have to avoid, especially since the fate of their electric vehicles rests largely in the hands of third-party automakers.
If they succeed, Apple will surely have the courage to try their hand at this segment. And if they fail, Apple’s experience in supply chain management and contract manufacturer relationships will give CEO Tim Cook the confidence to believe he can achieve significantly better results.