The Foxconn logo is displayed on a Foxconn building in Taipei on January 31, 2019.
Sam Yeh | AFP | Getty Images
GUANGZHOU, CHINA – Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that assembles Apple’s iPhone, has launched a platform to help automakers make electric cars.
The tech giant is best known for being a major assembler of consumer electronics such as smartphones. But the latest announcement pushes Foxconn into a market that could be worth more than $ 800 billion by 2027, according to Allied Market Research, as it seeks to diversify its business.
William Wei, an executive at Foxconn, said the company’s goal is to become Android of electric vehicles, referring to Google’s mobile operating system.
“We believe this is our mission,” he said.
Android, the world’s largest mobile operating system by market share, has managed to become dominant because it is open source. This means that smartphone manufacturers can use the software almost out of the box on their smartphones, but also customize it according to their needs. By comparison, Apple’s iOS is only for iPhones and is tightly controlled by the Cupertino-based giant.
In this vein, Foxconn introduced what he called the “MIH Open Platform”. It is basically a set of tools that would allow a company to design large parts of an electric car that would be manufactured by Foxconn.
Car manufacturers can choose the chassis design of their cars, from SUVs to sedans and customize it however they want, from wheel distance to battery size. Foxconn calls its platform “modular,” which means that some components could be replaced and upgraded at a later date.
But Foxconn also offers software that developers can rely on. Some of these relate to mission critical functions and driverless cars.
It looks like Foxconn is trying to put together almost all the parts needed for an entire car.
The company said it was working on so-called solid-state batteries, which are believed to be the next generation evolution of current lithium-ion batteries used in cars. They could unlock other ranges and more efficiency. Foxconn said it plans to launch a solid-state battery in 2024.
“After 2025, anyone who masters solid-state battery technologies will dominate the industry,” said Jerry Hsiao, product manager at Foxconn.
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