Tesla Model 3 Rival Starts Deliveries
The first production car fitted with Huawei’s autonomous driving tech is now being delivered to customers in China.
The Alpha S is an electric sedan that will rival the Tesla Model 3 and wears the badge of Arcfox, a brand owned by BAIC, the state-owned Beijing Automotive Group.
But while the name might be unfamiliar to Western car fans, what’s under the skin will generate a fair amount of interest.
Because the car is being billed as the first car in the world to pair a smart cabin based on Huawei’s Harmony OS with a full set of self-driving features developed by the Chinese tech giant.
The company is clearly confident in its hardware and software, briefing Chinese media that the car performs better than a Tesla.
The HiCar tech – HI stands for “Huawei Inside” – is capable of hands-off Level 3 autonomous driving, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers, which is delivered via three Lidar sensors, six mmW radar sensors, 12 ultrasonic sensors, nine ADS units, and four surround view cameras. The system also has 400 TOPs of computing power.
There are also backups in the sensors, architecture and other areas of the car that mean if the main system fails in an emergency, the car can still be used.
Two versions of the Alpha-S will be offered initially, with a more affordable model – starting at around $59,000 – enabling highway autonomous driving, and a more expensive variant ($63,750) delivering self-driving functionality in urban areas.
Videos on YouTube showcase the depth of the Huawei system’s capabilities, with hands-off driving in urban areas, left turns, stopping at traffic lights and giving way to pedestrians all accomplished with ease.
Performance-wise, the Alpha-S has a peak power of 473 kW and peak torque of 655 Nm, meaning it can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds.
Adding to the car’s armory is the Harmony OS Smart Cockpit, which made its debut on the Aito M5 plug-in hybrid SUV earlier this year. The Alpha-S is the first pure EV to benefit from the Smart Cockpit, which offers a full spread of connected features and seamless syncing with Huawei smartphones.
With mass deliveries of the Alpha-S now underway, production is being ramped up at the car’s production facility at Zhenjiang, in Jiangsu Province, where it is being manufactured in partnership with parts supplier Magna.