Foxconn has launched a technology platform designed to help electric vehicle manufacturers cut costs and bring new models to market faster as the Taiwanese group occupies a central position in a rapidly growing market.
The world's largest manufacturer of contract electronics aims to become the "Android of electric vehicles," said William Wei, chief technology officer, at an event on Friday regarding the open source operating system with which Google has created a massive part of the global smartphone industry .
Tesla, the world's largest manufacturer of electric vehicles, has often been compared to the US smartphone maker Apple.
Foxconn said its open platform would allow it to share key software and hardware designs, ranging from solid-state batteries to data management tools, into an "ecosystem" of developers and manufacturers. The company believes the platform could help speed up time and reduce the resources required to introduce new vehicles.
Foxconn chairman Young Liu said Friday that the group is "aiming for a 10 percent market share by 2025 to 2027, when the global EV market is expected to be around 30 million cars worldwide".
Foxconn pushes for electric vehicles as profit margins for the smartphone manufacturing division, which accounts for the lion's share of the business, continue to shrink. The spread of electronics beyond devices like computers and smartphones into areas like electric vehicles is forcing the company to diversify.
According to analysts, Foxconn is trying to replicate its long-standing dominance in the global manufacturing of PCs and smartphones, the largest category of electronics by shipments for the past 30 years, in the manufacture of electric vehicles. These vehicles are expected to become a dominant force in electronics products in terms of global shipments and sales in the years to come.
One of the main strengths of the Taiwanese group is the ability to mass-produce components inexpensively. “To make this business model easier to apply to the EV market, it is critical that they. . . affect the basic designs and that there aren't too many differences from one brand to another, ”said an industry expert who works closely with Foxconn.
Foxconn, trading as Hon Hai Precision, does not intend to produce entire cars or create its own brand. Mr. Liu added that the company is in talks with a number of automakers and is expected to announce several joint ventures for the production of electric vehicles in November.
Mr. Liu argued that automakers' traditional business model of running a group of suppliers was no longer viable because they lacked some of the key electric vehicle technologies.
The company currently has an EV cooperation with Yulon, Taiwan's largest automaker. A joint venture with Fiat Chrysler agreed in January is expected to be officially established early next year.
"We hope to bring our supply chain management experience in the information and communication technology industry over the past 30 to 40 years to this new area," added Liu.