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Fast EV charging: Huawei takes on Tesla in China

Fast EV charging: Huawei takes on Tesla in China
Fast EV charging: Huawei takes on Tesla in China

Huawei has taken an ambitious leap into the electric vehicle (EV) charging sector as it prepares to roll out ultrafast chargers across China. This move positions Huawei as a potential Tesla competitor.

Why is this relevant? ‘Comprehensive ultra-fast charging’ was cited as one of the top trends to look out for in the EV sector, according to Huawei’s ‘10 Trends of Charging Network’ report

Wang Zhiwu, president of the company’s Smart Charging Network Domain, announced the findings under the theme, ‘High-Quality Charging Anywhere.’ He said the advancements in third-gen power semiconductors and high-C-rate traction batteries are “steering EVs toward the high-voltage ultra-fast charging domain.” 

Wang says by 2028, more than 60% of vehicle models on the market will support ultrafast charging. Other trends in this sector include high-quality development, optimal experience, and grid power utilization. 

Huawei’s ultrafast charging revolution

As reported by Nikkei Asia, Huawei Technologies will construct 100,000 fast charging stations in China by the end of 2024. The stations will be located across 340 cities, near commercial facilities and highway service areas. 

The first charging station of its kind is already up and running in the parking lot of a shopping center in Shenzhen. 

Huawei boldly claims that this station offers one kilometer of range for every second of charging. In December, Huawei Digital Power’s Liu Dawei said the 1-km-per-second charging range would give motorists “the same experience as refueling.” 

Huawei taking on Tesla

With Huawei offering a 1-km-per-second charging range, an EV with an 80kWh battery and a range of 600 km could easily be charged from 0 to 100% capacity within eight minutes. 

These ultrafast units developed by Huawei Digital Power are reportedly twice as fast as Tesla’s chargers. The 600 kW output is currently also among the highest in the world. Tesla’s chargers only support 250 kW output in China, meaning a full charge takes approximately 19 minutes. 

Tesla has installed more than 11,000 charging stations in China over the past decade, but most of those only support Tesla vehicles. 

Huawei’s ultrafast chargers, meanwhile, are compatible with Tesla EVs, among other brands. It also supports models from Nio, XPeng, and Li Auto.

ALSO READ: XPeng electrifies the global stage as Tesla faces legal sparks

China taking on the US

Elon Musk has gone from laughing at China’s EV market to warning Tesla investors in a recent earnings call that Chinese EVs would “pretty much demolish” other manufacturers if allowed easy access into the US. 

“Frankly, I think if there are not trade barriers established, they will pretty much demolish most other companies in the world. So, they’re extremely good,” he replied when Adam Jonas, a Morgan Stanley analyst, asked about his thoughts on China manufacturers expanding into Western markets.

When Musk mocked BYD in 2011, saying he didn’t see the Shenzhen-based EV manufacturer as a competitor. In 2023, however, BYD overtook Tesla as the best-selling EV manufacturer in the world.

Like Musk in 2011, the trap many fell into was assuming that Chinese vehicles are subpar. However, EV brands such as BYD, NIO, XPeng, Hongqi, and Lynk & Co have proven over the last 13 years that they don’t compromise on quality, design, or competitive pricing.

Speaking to Business Insider, founder of EV consultancy brand Sino Auto Insights, Tu Le, said the idea that Chinese brands “are not as high quality as the legacy carmakers should be put to bed.” 

He said the ‘legacies’ do not have a competitive edge, warning that if Chinese brands were allowed to trade in the US, “the legacies would be gutted.” Le said EV manufacturing “has been a global game. Motherf*****s just haven’t been paying attention.”

About the author

Cheryl has contributed to various international publications, with a fervor for data and technology. She explores the intersection of emerging tech trends with logistics, focusing on how digital innovations are reshaping industries on a global scale. When she's not dissecting the latest developments in AI-driven innovation and digital solutions, Cheryl can be found gaming, kickboxing, or navigating the novel niches of consumer gadgetry.

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