When Nikkei Asia printed that Foxconn needed to have ten p.c of the electrical automotive platform market by 2025, InsideEVs tried to study extra about that. Within the course of, we noticed a number of jokes about Foxconn being “only a smartphone producer.” We additionally discovered the video above. It reveals how Foxconn – or Hon Hai, because it appears to want to be referred to as – have to be taken very critically by the entire automotive business, together with Tesla.

The American electrical automotive firm was as soon as known as “the iPhone of EVs.” There are a lot of similarities between them. Tesla followers get in lengthy strains to get the corporate’s latest merchandise, like Apple supporters. Each eagerly anticipate the brand new software program updates. Lastly, each corporations work with “closed programs:” solely their merchandise can have their software program.

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

Neglect about that promise that Tesla would sell software and components to other companies. Ever since Elon Musk mentioned that will occur, now we have not seen a single case. Quite the opposite: Sandy Munro asked Tesla for parts for Nobe and received a “no” as a result of Tesla wouldn’t promote them to an “unsafe mission.” It additionally makes all the things attainable to forestall rooting, as Jason Hughes, GreenTheOnly, and Ingenext know very effectively.

Regardless of manufacturing iPhones for Apple, Foxconn needs to be the “Android of EVs.” It goals to get there by granting entry to builders and different automotive corporations to its MIH Open Platform. This electrical automotive structure consists of each the {hardware} and the software program that make an EV.

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

The MIH Open Platform was offered on the Hon Hai Tech Day 2020 final October 15 by most of the firm’s executives, together with its CEO, Liu Yangwei. He provided the viewers a glimpse of the corporate’s plan for the longer term, referred to as “3+3=∞.” Its three pillars are EVs, digital healthcare, and robotics.

Yangwei began his presentation by remembering a go to Foxconn had 20 years in the past from the CEO of one in every of their main clients. This unidentified government would have informed Terry Gou – Hon Hai’s founder – that the corporate was undersold. In different phrases, that Foxconn had far more to supply than it cared to indicate. Yangwei saved that in thoughts till now, when he determined it was time to vary that.

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

In accordance with Nikkei Asia, one of many causes for that will be that the smartphone business would is in a “lengthy slowdown.” The manager’s speech additionally means that Hon Hai needs to assist Taiwan be a number one power within the EV business. In any case, the nation was by no means distinguished relating to the automotive business in its combustion-engined age.

Taiwan has two automotive producers: Yulon and Hotai Motor. The primary one was established in 1953 and began manufacturing Willys merchandise in Taiwan underneath license in 1956. If you’re questioning how Foxconn will make vehicles, Yulon can begin to reply that: the Taiwanese corporations have a partnership.

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

Clearly, this partnership shouldn’t be the explanation why the automotive business ought to take notes of what Hon Hai disclosed. In any case, Luxgen – Yulon’s proprietary automotive model – remains to be combating to determine itself as a reputable automotive firm. If there’s any firm that might any assist on this, it’s Yulon. It has a comparatively small position in how Foxconn’s conceives the perfect electrical automotive: an intrinsically totally different machine in comparison with these days combustion-engined vehicles – and a few EVs.

William Wei, the corporate’s Chief Know-how Officer (CTO), launched that idea. In accordance with him, most present automobiles are “hardware-defined” and work in “closed programs.” What meaning is that “what you see is what you get” and that solely their automakers can develop their {hardware} and software program.

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

Foxconn needs to vary that with what Wei referred to as the “Energy of Software program” and the “Energy of Open.” Utilizing mobiles as examples, he talked about how the iPhone helped Apple beat Nokia because the king in that business. Nonetheless, Apple growing its personal software program and never permitting anybody else to the touch it will have made it misplaced its smartphone management to Android and its open-source method. Nothing new: it as soon as misplaced the pc market to Microsoft for a similar cause.

If Tesla is the “iPhone of EVs,” Hon Hai needs to be the “Android of EVs” by permitting everybody to assist it develop its electrical automotive platform. That’s an incredible irony coming from the very firm that produces the iPhone for Apple, but it surely additionally reveals Foxconn might have realized a factor or two within the course of.

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

To be the “Android of EVs,” Hon Hai needs to breed the constructive methods Tesla has adopted with its automobiles. As an alternative of getting them “outlined by {hardware},” Foxconn needs the vehicles based mostly on its platform to evolve, to supply new functionalities, or enhance older ones, similar to vary. The one distinction in comparison with Tesla is that it’ll settle for third-party contributions.

Wei believes that this technique will assist reduce depreciation in automobiles, one thing Elon Musk additionally mentioned about his EVs some time in the past. To be extra exact, the Tesla CEO said the company’s products would become “appreciating assets” with autonomous technology

We are able to nearly hear Tesla supporters laughing at this level: they think about Tesla to have cutting-edge know-how associated to autonomy. Foxconn additionally has one thing to current in that regard. In some methods, it might be much more superior than what Tesla has offered thus far. Simply maintain your horses: we’ll get there.

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

Wei mentioned this open-source method to the MIH Open Platform can be attainable with “layering and separation” of {hardware} and software program in order that they are often developed independently. This collaborative improvement would deliver R&D prices down.

Whereas that appears very laborious by way of {hardware}, it’s regarding in what pertains to software program, particularly if autonomous driving is concerned. Anybody accustomed to what hackers can do to some vehicles can be terrified.

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

Predicting that, Wei promised that its open-source platform for electrical vehicles would have a excessive cybersecurity degree. The query is that if it will likely be sufficient for anybody to really feel secure driving their open-source vehicles round. Solely time will show if that’s possible or not.

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

The corporate later requested Zuo Zisheng to current the {hardware} half. He was launched as an government with over 35 years of expertise within the automotive business. We looked for his title {and professional} references however discovered none thus far. But, he’s a Hon Hai vice chairman.

The manager laid down the corporate’s plans for it: it needs to construct vehicles for its companions. We’ll in all probability by no means see a Foxconn EV – or a Hon Hai automotive, for that matter. If it occurs – identical to we noticed Nexus and Pixel smartphones from Google – it will likely be an exception. Hon Hai needs its platform to assist in the event and manufacturing of latest automobiles, elements, and software program.

Zisheng offered a video that confirmed Foxconn’s electrical automotive platform might have wheelbases starting from 2.75 meters to as much as 3.10 m. The tracks can go from 1.59 m to as much as 1.70 m, and floor clearance varies from 12.6 centimeters to as much as 21.1 cm. There can be three battery packs out there, and the EVs could be RWD, FWD, or AWD.

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

Relating to motors, Foxconn plans to supply at the least three choices for the entrance axle: 95 kW, 150 kW, and 200 kW. The rear can have 4: 150 kW, 200 kW, 240 kW, and 340 kW. In different phrases, the MIH platform may give start to automobiles starting from a modest front-wheel-drive 95 kW automotive as much as a 540 kW AWD machine. 

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

That is removed from being probably the most fascinating half in regards to the new MIH Open Platform. Zisheng mentioned it additionally makes use of mega castings. With the same strategy Tesla has adopted so far only with the Model Y, Foxconn managed to scale back 7 entrance suspension physique panels and 27 rear longitudinal rail elements to single forged components, respectively.

A bit later on the HHTD, Jerry Hsiao (Xiao Caiyou) managed to make clear that even additional. Hon Hai’s Chief Product Officer (CPO) mentioned the corporate has a 4,200-ton die-cast machine that at present produces BMW battery circumstances. To place that into the best perspective, Tesla currently uses a 5,500-ton IDRA die-cast machine.

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

Hsiao mentioned Foxconn works with a particular alloy with excessive ductility, corrosion resistance, glorious forged formability, excessive energy, and no want for warmth therapy. At the Tesla Battery Day, Elon Musk described its mega castings almost in the same way.

Foxconn’s CPO disclosed much more particulars that warn us how the corporate has been getting ready to sort out the EV world. It’s concerned with automotive manufacturing since 2007. That’s in all probability when it made its partnership with Yulon, however we are going to attempt to affirm that with the corporate.

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

Hsiao additionally mentioned Hon Hai is concerned with automotive analysis of core applied sciences for greater than a decade. That’s the reason Tesla has a high-performance thermal sealing know-how since 2012. This friction stir welding tech is used on smartphones, and Foxconn developed it. Its primary benefit is that it improves the warmth dissipation of digital elements.

As you possibly can see, Hon Hai had a number of stuff taking place on the backstage. It simply determined to let the general public learn about them solely now. One other slide in Hsiao’s presentation offers us a fair higher comprehension of why it has determined to assist produce electrical vehicles.

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

In accordance with Foxconn’s CPO, the battery pack accounts for 30 to 35 p.c of the whole manufacturing value of an EV. It is usually divided into powertrain (20 to 25 p.c), EEA (Embedded Digital Structure – 15 to twenty p.c), physique (13 to fifteen p.c), and different bills (wheels, tires, and whatnot – 10 to 12 p.c).

Of all these prices, the physique construction is likely one of the least vital ones in an EV. Among the many most related, electronics are Foxconn’s specialties. Zisheng mentioned the MIH platform can be ready for 5G and 6G, adjust to AUTOSAR and ISO 26262, and be prepared for OTA (over-the-air) updates and V2X (vehicle-to-anything) communication. The progress Hon Hai is making in electrical motors would even be exceptional, in keeping with Hsiao.

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

The manager mentioned some corporations have motors that additionally combine inverters and a gearbox – or a 3-in-1 association. This appears to be a direct reference to Lucid, which revealed an amazingly compact and highly effective electrical motor that does that. Foxconn’s motors are a 6-in-1 answer that additionally provides a DC-to-DC converter, onboard charger, and distributor to that package deal.

If that was not sufficient, the Taiwanese firm additionally mentioned it’s making big advances in solid-state batteries with companions similar to CATL and SES, a Silicon Valley battery firm about which we didn’t discover any info. Hsiao even promised Foxconn would promote a solid-state battery in 2024, implying it will likely be on the MIH Open Platform.

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

These new SSBs would have LMNO (lithium-manganese-nickel-oxide) as anodes and SiC (silicon-carbon) as cathodes. Nonetheless, Hon Hai’s CPO mentioned the corporate’s aim is to get rid of the necessity for a adverse electrode. 

For the electrolyte, Foxconn bets on a metallic oxide ceramic movie that’s underneath analysis since 2017. Components would have helped improve battery cycle life by 10 p.c, scale back weight by 50 p.c, and shrink it by slightly greater than 16 p.c. In accordance with Hsiao, whoever dominates solid-state batteries till 2025 will dominate the business.

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

Devoted to its method to bettering each {hardware} and software program, Hon Hai needs the battery administration system (BMS) to be good. To perform that, the corporate has developed one that’s managed by cloud-based synthetic intelligence (AI).

Hsiao once more makes an oblique reference to Tesla within the sense that battery materials is simply a part of a long-lasting battery pack. As you already know, Tesla’s BMS is taken into account state-of-the-art. The best way these sources are managed will make an enormous distinction. That’s the place the AI is meant to contribute.

Hon Hai’s BMS will obtain huge knowledge from the battery packs in every automotive, permitting it to repeatedly study, optimize, and carry out software program upgrades within the background – all based mostly on how every driver makes use of their EVs. Hsiao believes the vary will improve as time goes by. As we speak, what occurs is strictly the other.

The Automotive Industry Should Take Foxconn’s EV Ambitions Seriously

The ultimate level of Foxconn’s CPO presentation was associated to autonomous driving. Hsiao mentioned Japan at present has an airport shuttle bus with Stage 3 autonomy that runs on Hon Hai’s know-how.

When he began speaking about digital healthcare and robotics, he respectively talked about a miniaturized X-ray machine and A15, which is the smallest LiDAR on the earth. Its title is a tribute to the Apollo 15 mission, the first-ever use of LiDAR know-how. In different phrases, even when Hsiao talked about one other pillar within the firm’s plans of enlargement, he additionally talked about one thing that will assist vehicles based mostly on the MIH Open Platform develop into autonomous.

In any case this, anybody prepared to downplay Foxconn’s effort to diversify its enterprise will solely make a idiot of themselves. The Taiwanese firm could also be on the verge of turning into exactly what it mentioned it needs to be: the Android of EVs. That has big implications.

If Hon Hai is profitable, automakers that undertake the MIH will develop into fashionable carrozzieri, giving the platform the physique their clients need. Those that skip it must be aggressive sufficient to be an actual different. Microsoft remains to be making an attempt to have its cell phone OS with no luck.

The least we will do with what Foxconn revealed is to respectfully watch what’s subsequent. Hon Hai may have proven the tip of the iceberg that it has put within the automotive business’s manner. Ought to all the things go because it deliberate, there can be three choices left: be part of the iceberg, dodge it, or play the violins. It was a pleasure telling you this story, pricey readers. 

Sources: Foxconn and Nikkei Asia