20 October 2020
Foxconn Technology Group has debuted its software and hardware open platform for electric vehicles (EVs) as it develops plans for the automotive market.
The company, best known for assembling the Apple iPhone, has said it aims to be the ‘Android system of the EV industry’ with its MIH platform. It will work together with industry partners towards the goal of creating a ‘software-defined’ open ecosystem for the EV-manufacturing industry.
Foxconn’s move comes as the company looks to diversify beyond the smartphone market as global sales start to fall. Expanding into the EV sector makes sense for the business, as it can bring its technology experience into an area that is rapidly growing as carmakers pursue electrification in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions.
At an online launch event, Foxconn chairman Young Lui suggested the company was aiming for a 10% market share by 2027 when the global EV market is expected to have a size of about 30 million cars globally.
By offering an open platform, Foxconn expects to work with established manufacturers that may be struggling to merge the worlds of connected cars and electric vehicles. With economic pressures amplified by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there is wider scope for collaboration to cut costs, meaning Foxconn could benefit with a ready-made platform, allowing partners to reduce development costs.
‘Our vision is to work with leading customers around the world to create an inter-connected world with smart technologies,’ said Liu. ‘We do that by providing next-generation technology solutions to our customers and partners, in turn supporting them to provide products with the highest value to their customers.’
The business already has an EV agreement with Taiwan’s domestic automotive company Yulon. It also has a joint venture with Fiat Chrysler (FCA) to make EVs for the Chinese market. The Italian company could use MIH in these plans, as it lacks its own dedicated EV platform. However, whether this use would expand into Europe remains unknown, as the company is set to complete its merger with PSA Group in 2021, and the French carmaker already has an EV architecture that FCA could use.
Foxconn said its open platform allows it to share important software and hardware designs, ranging from solid-state batteries to data-management tools, across an ‘ecosystem’ of developers and manufacturers. The company believes the platform could help shorten the time and reduce funding needed to launch new vehicles.
MIH ‘tackles the current development pain points of EVs through being ‘software-defined’ – creating software and hardware separation and enabling an open ecosystem,’ Foxconn stated. By allowing developers access to key technologies and tools for developing EVs on MIH, the company reduces the entry barriers to the industry.
The MIH platform allows manufacturers to develop a variety of models, from sedans to SUVs, the company said.