Friday, July 19, 2024
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5 Smartphone Makers That Want To Build A Car And One That Has Already Failed


In this day and age, almost everything we use runs on software. From computers to fridges to cars, software is everywhere. Because of this, it’s natural to assume that smartphone makers, who make up a large majority of software development, would try their hands at making a car. It makes even more sense for these companies to begin producing cars as EVs are, by and large, on the rise across the globe and need quite a lot of software to function.



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So far, a few smartphone companies have begun the process of designing and even building their own cars. While most are still in the beginning stages, a couple have already begun producing their vehicles for the mass market. Another has already tried and failed. In this CarBuzz feature, we’re going to take a look at a few of these companies and see what they’ve done so far, and what future plans they hold for their individual forays into the automotive market.


Huawei: Already Producing Cars

Screenshot 2024-06-07 at 10.51.47
Huawei

Huawei Automotive Facts

  • Huawei has helped develop seven cars so far, including the S7.
  • Their most successful vehicle is the AITO M5.
  • Involved in automobile development since 2018.


Huawei is a massive communications company based in China. While it’s not well-known in the West, Huawei makes up a large portion of cell phone sales in China and the surrounding countries. Beginning in 2018, Huawei started dabbling in vehicle development and production. So far, they’ve helped develop seven vehicles with varying success. However, their joint-built AITO M5 and M7 with automobile manufacturer Seres have sold relatively well in China, having been released about a year ago.

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As for their most popular M5 and M7 EVs, they boast both regular BEV powertrains and a range extension powertrain, which can get up to an estimated 730 miles of range in the M5 iteration. The purpose behind Huawei developing software and cars for other companies is, in their words, to broaden their horizons to new avenues.


Foxconn: Beating Apple To The Punch

foxtron model b front quarter white
Wikimedia Commons: Alexander-93

Foxconn Automotive Facts

  • Vehicles produced under the Foxtron brand name
  • Currently producing six models
  • Company based in Taiwan

Foxconn, the Taiwanese communications conglomerate, manufactures a handful of EVs under the brand name Foxtron in conjunction with Yulon, a Taiwanese car manufacturer. It’s also famous for building the Apple iPhone.

Back in early 2020, the two companies struck a deal to design and build a lineup of EVs using expertise gathered from both companies. Their first model, an electric transit bus dubbed the Model T, was delivered in 2022. Their other models consist of the Model E sedan, Model C and B SUVs, a Model V pickup, and a Model N panel van.


Foxconn uses open-source software for its EVs, effectively homogenizing its digital build processes. This allows for easy and seamless development without the need for individual coding for each model. In essence, this allows its build process to be extremely streamlined and simple, which is good news for meeting production needs.

Xiaomi: Extremely Ambitious

xiaomi su7 front quarter blue
Wikimedia Commons: JustAnotherCarDesigner

Xiaomi Automotive Facts

  • Currently manufactures a single model, the SU7
  • Xiaomi wants to position itself as a luxury EV maker
  • The company claims they want to be one of the five largest car companies in the world

Xiaomi currently produces just one model: the SU7. The company claims it wants to position itself as a more upscale EV manufacturer and designed the SU7 around this principle. Under the guidance of former BMW chief designer Lei Jun, the SU7 is said to be positioned between the Tesla Model S and the Porsche Taycan. Despite this higher-end comparison, the SU7’s base price is 215,900 yuan, or just under $30,000, much less than its supposed competition.


The SU7 is also capable of some serious performance. It uses an 800-volt battery pack, has an estimated 516 miles of range, and boasts a 0-60 MPH time of 2.7 seconds. Xiaomi is attempting to become China’s first domestic luxury EVM manufacturer. Depending on the success of its SU7, the company will also work on designing other models to complement its lineup.

Google

waymo firefly front quarter white
Wikimedia Commons: Grendelkhan

Google Automotive Facts

  • Helped develop Waymo
  • Mainly involved with self-driving tech
  • They have stated they will not develop a car with the Google brand name


While Google isn’t interested in developing its own car company, it was integral in the development of Waymo, which was formerly known as the Google Self-Driving Car Project. Google’s story in the automotive business begins back in 2009 when the question of self-driving cars had just begun to be taken seriously. The burgeoning technology required the use of AI, which was in its infancy at the time. Now, Waymo offers vehicles outfitted with self-driving tech and has been using them to give pedestrian rides in select cities.

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While still a ways away, self-driving cars seem to be where the normal automobile will ultimately end up. Google was the first to delve into the technology behind creating a car that can drive itself. The road ahead of Waymo and its self-driving tech is long, but they’ve been making relatively steady progress so far.

Sony

afeela prototype front quarter
Wikimedia Commons: HumanDX


Sony Automotive Facts

  • Involved in a joint venture with Honda
  • The resulting budding company is named Afeela
  • Unveiled their first prototype in 2023

Sony is a well-known electronics company throughout the West, and, as of 2022, it’s entering the car-making business as well. The joint venture with Honda is named Sony Honda Mobility Inc., and it unveiled its first prototype in January 2023. The vehicle will be a four-door sedan designed for the North American market. Apart from that, not much is known yet about the mysterious prototype.

We do know, however, that the car will use Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5 graphics to help run in-car screens and other graphics. It will also feature 45 cameras and utilize Qualcomm’s Snapdragon digital chassis.

Apple’s Automotive Failure

apple car sidelong grey
YT: Apple Explained


Apple Automotive Facts

  • The project began in 2014
  • The endeavor remained largely secret, yet employed over 5,000 people
  • Canceled in 2024

Perhaps the one company you’d most expect to create a car for the future, Apple, has already failed at it. The vehicle was meant to be fully autonomous and electric, and was reportedly being developed alongside Volkswagen after a partnership was supposedly struck up in 2018.

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However, citing gigantic financial losses, Apple decided to pull the plug on the Apple car in early 2024, after losing nearly $1 billion per year on the project. Instead, Apple is shifting its focus to Artificial Intelligence.

Sources: CarNewsChina.com, MI.com, InsideEVs.com



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