iPhone Builder Foxconn Is Making an EV Platform with a Solid-State Battery
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From the car and driver
Foxconn, the company that makes iPhones for Apple, has unveiled its own open source EV platform. The first vehicle to use it will fail in two years and a solid-state battery will be available in 2024.
The hardware platform can be customized to meet the needs and specifications of each automaker, and the software elements can be updated.
The company hopes to bring its components or systems to market in 10 percent of all electric vehicles - around three million electric vehicles - by 2027.
It took GM and VW years to build an electric platform that will be the cornerstone of their EV business. Volkswagen in particular is ready to work with other automakers to bring its modular MEB system under their vehicles and ensure that its architecture is profitable. Now less traditional manufacturers seem to be looking for the same potential customers.
Today, Taiwan-based manufacturer Foxconn - known for building the iPhone along with a host of other tech devices - unveiled its own open source EV platform called MIH, which includes a solid-state battery pack and in-vehicle Internet services. During a presentation, Foxconn chairman Young-Way Liu said that MIH is a software-defined open platform. Liu said that a software defined car is one with "functions and features [that] can be changed and improved by software upgrades after the car is shipped."
The first EV to use the platform is expected to arrive in two years.
The hardware will be modular and flexible to meet the needs of automakers. According to Foxconn, the wheelbase, width and height are adjustable. The modules have versions with front, rear and all-wheel drive with a variety of motors from 95 kW to 340 kW. Additional specifications are available based on customer requirements.
Most impressive news is that Foxconn will have a solid-state battery in 2024. Solid-state batteries can be charged faster and have a greater storage capacity than the lithium-ion batteries in current vehicles. Building a stable solid-state battery with a long life is still a challenge. The company has worked with battery supplier CATL and solid-state battery company SES.
The software platform would be connected to Foxconn's cloud and would have an "EV Kit" SDK that automakers could plug into their vehicles to control and use the battery and platform. The system could be updated with additional functions such as remote key access or driver assistance systems. The system will also support fleet management and the robot axis.
Offers may be in progress
Foxconn wants to do much of the heavy lifting when it comes to developing electric vehicles through the MIH platform. "We have to act quickly to gain market share," said Liu. With the goal of delivering components or services in 10 percent of EVs by 2027, contracts need to be signed with automakers who may already have roadmaps with other providers.
It looks like FCA (soon to be Stellantis) is likely already on board. In January, it announced plans to set up a joint venture with Foxconn to build electric cars. Liu would not talk about partnerships that are already being worked on, saying that there is "ongoing talk" about such deals.
Earlier this week, Fisker announced that it would use established auto industry supplier Magna to manufacture its Dream EV SUV. Volkswagen has partnered with Ford to use the German automaker's MEB platform in upcoming European vehicles bearing the Ford emblem. Foxconn isn't rushing into anything new, but it needs to convince automakers that it can help them build cars in an increasingly competitive EV platform market.
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