Qualcomm announced on Monday that it will supply a key computing chip for the digital dashboard of a new Renault electric vehicle.
San Diego, Calif.-based Qualcomm, the world’s largest supplier of essential semiconductors for cell phones, has expanded into vehicles with chips that can power panels and infotainment systems at the same time. The company earlier this year announced an agreement with General Motors to use Qualcomm chips.
Qualcomm said on Monday that Renault’s Mégane E-TECH Electric will use its chips to power the vehicle’s infotainment system using Google software from Alphabet, Qualcomm’s long-time partner in the Android phone market.
The Mégane E-TECH Electric, which is due to be showcased at this month’s IAA Mobility 2021 automotive fair in Munich, should go on sale next year.
As automakers gathered in Munich on Monday to launch almost exclusively zero-emission or low-emission vehicles, a continuing shortage of semiconductors cast a long shadow over the first major auto show since before the pandemic began.
Forced to close factories last year, automakers now face increasing competition from the consumer electronics industry for chip deliveries. This problem was compounded by a series of supply chain disruptions during the pandemic.
Cars are increasingly dependent on chips – for everything from computer engine management for better fuel economy to driver assistance features like emergency braking.
Speaking at the launch of a pair of electric vehicles (EVs) on Sunday night, Ola Källenius, CEO of premium German automaker Daimler AG, said that while the company hopes its own supply will improve in the fourth quarter, the demand for chips means the industry may struggle to acquire enough of them by 2023 – although shortages are likely to be less severe by then.
“Several chip suppliers have been referring to structural problems with demand,” Källenius said. “This could influence 2022 and (the situation) could be more relaxed in 2023.”
Joerg Burzer, head of supply chain at Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz automobile manufacturing unit, said he expected the situation to stabilize in the fourth quarter. “Relaxation will come later.”
© Thomson Reuters 2021