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Driving your computer to work: Exactly how smart is your EV?

The earliest personal computers were incredibly bulky and heavy. It took years for them to evolve into light, portable versions. Today you can effortlessly carry at least one laptop in one hand and a couple of smartphones in the other.

So why are we manufacturing massive computers that are impossible to carry?
Because they are built to carry you.

The smartest thing on wheels

While all cars are getting smarter, in this article we focus on electric vehicles (EVs) as the ultimate road computer. In part because, yes, they are intelligent, processor-driven and internet-connected. But also because no self-respecting computer has ever run on fossil fuels.

Where once, the only ‘screen’ on a car was its windscreen, today, there are multiple displays inside the vehicle, informing drivers of everything from engine performance to proximity to outside vehicles. Connection to a stable 4G or 5G network enable screens to also tell you which client is trying to reach you by phone, display texts, and display answers to questions such as best places to host a lunch for our out-of-town visitors.

Code for car

To better understand the EV as computer, let’s take the example of Tesla, one of the best-known EVs on the market. The two original founders of Tesla Motors, Marc Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard, had degrees in computer science and computer engineering, respectively. They were not car people. Their previous innovation had been an e-book reader.

Not only were the two founders not car people, their investors weren’t either. Rather, the duo’s EV plans captured the imagination of tech investors who were always looking for the next new gadget or online platforms. The most famous among them was Elon Musk.

Younger and faster

As happened with laptops and smartphones, new, agile EV manufacturers are entering the market at a sprint. For example, BYD Auto was established in 2003. Yet, it has successfully introduced EVs to compete with automakers that have been around for a century. While older companies have had longer to build their brand, BYD will become increasingly familiar in Malaysia as it offers one of the most competitively-priced EV on the market.

The most futuristic EVs will continue to be built from the code up, by innovators who are not bogged down by ‘the way things have always been done.’ Rumors about an EV by Apple (yes, that Apple) circulated for years until Apple finally cancelled the project in 2024. Just one month later Xiaomi, also known for its phones, tablets and smart watches, released its first EV, the SU7. There were 88,898 orders on the first day of pre-booking and, like the best gadgets, have already sold out… for the year. Also, as eventually happened with phones, laptops and more, expect the pool of EV manufacturers to be flooded with newcomers to make more EVs accessible to more buyers.

How many computers fit in your car?

Technically, when you get into an EV you are not driving one computer; you are driving lots of them. Dozens and dozens, working together, of course, but also in charge of very specific jobs, from engine monitoring and recalibration to climate control to security to hands free controls to infotainment systems. Beyond efficiency and comfort, some of these systems transform your car into a mobile office, where you take calls and attend virtual meetings with its clear and reliable communications. Provided, of course, your EV is connected to the right network.

Social networking for machines

Key to all the best EV features is connectivity. Sure, there are a few things you can still do with your phone or laptop without the internet, but none of the really cool stuff. The same goes for your computer on wheels. As with all your other mobile devices, possibilities will explode as 5G becomes the new standard. The increased speed and capacity will enable your car to communicate with traffic infrastructure and other cars, calculating the most efficient routes. Even more for businesses in the EV ecosystem, whether transitioning to EV vehicles or within the EV value chain, should prioritise finding the ideal connectivity partner to fully leverage the benefits of EV adoption.

We’re at a turning point

While Malaysia lags compared to its neighbours when it comes to EV adoption, that only means there is that much more room for growth. This is just the first of a series of articles we’ve prepared delving into the EV ecosystem. Articles will include tips for our current and future business partners, such as ideas to solve existing infrastructural problems and business opportunities for those who want to help the country reach its EV potential.

Keep an eye out for the next article in our series. In the meantime, follow us on Maxis Business LinkedIn. We will keep you informed of the latest breakthroughs in information and communications technology as well as how these can add value to your business and customers.

You too, can stay ahead of the race.

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