Huawei on Thursday revealed its first electric sedan under the new Luxeed marque in collaboration with automaker Chery, saying it will compete with Tesla and Mercedes Benz’s premium offerings at a price comparable to the cheapest models of its international rivals.
“After some deliberation, we will make all versions of the Luxeed S7 available for purchase despite making a loss,” Richard Yu, the chief executive of Huawei’s consumer business group, told the media during a press conference in Shenzhen (our translation). This will allow more customers to try Huawei’s smart vehicle technology at an affordable price, said Yu.
The aggressive pricing strategy unveiled at the Luxeed S7’s launch marks the latest push by the Chinese technology giant to crack the world’s biggest and most competitive electric vehicle market. Huawei hopes it will be a new revenue source to offset the negative impact of US restrictions on its smartphone business.
Here’s what we know about the newly-launched Luxeed S7 sedan:
Pricing: The sedan comes at a minimum price of RMB 258,000 ($35,381), RMB 2,000 lower than Tesla’s entry-level Model 3 in China. Pre-sale started on Thursday and the official launch is scheduled for Nov. 28.
Automated driving: The Huawei-Chery electric sedan is the first model to use the tech giant’s latest proprietary Harmony operating system. Its autonomous valet parking feature enables the car to park itself in lots and then return to a designated spot using a remote-control assisted function.
The premium versions of the Luxeed S7 will include Huawei’s laser sensor units and its Advanced Driving System (ADS) that uses deep learning networks and computer vision algorithms, including one called the General Obstacle Detection network, for navigating its surroundings.
Main specs: Yu specifically identified Tesla’s Model S as Huawei’s major competitor, claiming that Huawei and Chery’s full-size luxury sedan outperformed its rival’s in terms of range, energy efficiency, and luxury.
The top-end Luxeed S7 will have a driving range of more than 800 kilometers (497 miles) and be capable of driving another 400 km on 15 minutes of supercharging using Huawei’s facilities. By comparison, the dual-motor Tesla Model S has a 715 km range and can add 347 km in 15 minutes.
The car also impresses with high energy efficiency, consuming an estimated 12.4 kWh per 100 km, compared with 13.2 kWh and 17.5 kWh achieved by the rear-drive Model 3 and the dual-motor Model S respectively. “This is far ahead of our rivals,” said Yu, using a phrase that has become a Huawei-related buzzword on the Chinese internet.
The S7 slightly beats out the Model S with a drag coefficient of 0.203. Meanwhile, it offers a 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) acceleration of 3.3 seconds, just under the 3.1 seconds reported by the Model S performance version but faster than the Porsche Taycan 4S, according to Yu.
Interior: The sleek, aerodynamically favorable sedan boasts of a larger cabin space than its major luxury competitors with an interior length of 1,910 mm. The Mercedes E300L and the Tesla Model S measure 1,898mm and 1,816mm in interior length respectively, according to figures cited by Huawei during the press conference.
The S7 also comes with a sporty design concept for the inside, featuring a wide dashboard, a 12.3-inch smart screen, as well as an oval-shaped steering wheel, allowing drivers to see the whole display, rather than having to view it through the steering wheel.
In addition, it has adopted so-called zero gravity seat technology for the front passenger seat. This allows the human body to take on a neutral spinal posture, reducing the amount of stress placed on bones and joints, while the backs of the rear seats are heated, ventilated, and 27/32° adjustable.