Qualcomm Says It Will Supply Chip for New Renault Mégane E-TECH Electric

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Qualcomm on Monday said it will supply a key computing chip for the digital dashboard in a new Renault electric vehicle.

San Diego, California-based Qualcomm, the world’s biggest supplier of key semiconductors in mobile phones, has been expanding into vehicles with chips that can power dashboards and infotainment systems at the same time. The company earlier this year announced a deal with General Motors, to use Qualcomm chips.

Qualcomm said Monday that Renault’s Mégane E-TECH Electric will use its chips to power the vehicle’s infotainment system using software from Alphabet’s Google, Qualcomm’s longtime partner in the Android phone market.

The Mégane E-TECH Electric, which is expected to be unveiled at this month’s IAA Mobility 2021 automotive trade show in Munich, is expected to go on sale next year.

As carmakers gathered in Munich on Monday to launch almost exclusively zero- or low-emission vehicles, an ongoing semiconductor shortage cast a long shadow over the first major car show since before the pandemic began.

Forced to shut down plants last year, carmakers now face increasing competition from the consumer electronics industry for chip deliveries. That problem has been compounded by a series of supply chain disruptions during the pandemic.

Cars have become increasingly dependent on chips – for everything from computer management of engines for better fuel economy to driver-assistance features such as emergency braking.

Speaking during the launch of a couple of electric vehicles (EVs) on Sunday evening, Ola Källenius, CEO at premium German carmaker Daimler AG, said that while the company is hopeful its own supply will improve in the fourth quarter, soaring demand for chips means the industry could struggle to source enough of them into 2023 – though the shortage should 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) may be more relaxed in 2023.”

Joerg Burzer, head of supply chain at Daimler’s carmaking unit Mercedes-Benz, said he was hoping the situation would stabilise in the fourth quarter. “Relaxation will come later.”

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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