Say what you want about Apple, but they are undeniably trend setters for everything that they do. After earlier reports suggesting that Apple is making their own electric car, new rumours are now saying that archrival Huawei is also planning an entry into the automotive scene.

The report came from news outlet Reuters, quoting sources close to the Chinese telecommunication devices maker. And while the Apple Car might still be a long way to fruition, the sources said that Huawei could launch “some models” this year!

The BYD Han EV, featuring Huawei’s HiCar software and 5G technology

A Huawei spokesman denied that the company plans to design EVs or produce Huawei branded vehicles, but it is understood to be in discussions with state-owned Changan Automobile, as well as a subsidiary of Beijing-based BAIC Group, to help manufacture its vehicles.

The plan is almost play-for-play identical to Apple’s, which – according to latest rumours – is seeking out Hyundai Motor Group to build its autonomous electric car.

According to three of the four sources, Huawei has already started internally designing the EVs and approaching suppliers in China. The sources also said that the company aims to launch the project as early as this year. Huawei’s new electric car will target a “mass-market segment”, said another source.

Huawei’s head of consumer business group, Richard Yu, who led the company to become one of the world’s largest smartphone makers, is also said to be shifting his focus completely to the EV business. If the rumours turn out to be true, this just shows how serious Huawei is about getting into EVs!

That huge central infotainment display on the BYD Han runs Huawei’s new HiCar software, and even features 5G connectivity!

Huawei currently makes in-car infotainment systems, alongside various sensors and 5G communications hardware. These technologies have already been deployed in several new cars from BYD and SAIC. The company also formed partnerships with Daimler, General Motors, and SAIC to jointly develop other smart vehicle technologies.

Just this week, Huawei was awarded at least four patents related to EVs, including one for charging between electric cars, and one for checking battery health, according to official Chinese patent records.