The open-source platform is so versatile it will also give birth to an electric bus.
When Hon Hai announced the MIH Open Platform back in October 2020, we warned it should be taken very seriously. Five months later, the Taiwanese company – better known as Foxconn – showed why that is the case. In 2022, Foxtron will build electric buses with the MIH. In 2023, we’ll start to see a C-segment electric SUV that should resemble the mockup photographed above. Foxtron is Foxconn’s brand for electric vehicles.
Coherently with the idea of an open-source platform, Hon Hai is not dealing with the new brand as the result of its sole efforts. The event that announced these plans was the first MIH Alliance gathering. If you think they are restricted to Hon Hai and Yulon, the companies that developed the MIH, the press release mentions at least 398 other partners at the event. There would be more than 1,200 at this point in all five continents.
The MIH Alliance has its own CEO: Zheng Xiancong (the one in the middle). He was one of the co-founders of Weilai, which you know as Nio. After retiring in August 2019 from Nio, he joined Foxconn in January 2021.
Xiancong has nearly 40 years of experience in the automotive industry. He worked for Ford and became the vice president of Fiat China Global Purchasing Center. Before founding Nio, he was the general manager of GAC Fiat Chrysler. The executive showed a lot of enthusiasm for the MIH Open Platform.
"We will strive to figure out a high-standard, high-efficiency, and high-speed way of doing things, and lead the alliance and industry partners to move forward together to create a new generation of electric vehicle ecological chain!"
Xiancong addressed some of the MIH Alliance partners, and the list is impressive: Microsoft, Bosch, NVIDIA, Arm are just some of the names. The executive did that while emphasizing the principles behind the MIH Open Platform: openness, export, and neutrality.
Openness would ensure the Taiwan EV industry would “avoid duplication of investment, reduce development costs, shorten development time, and enable EV products to enter the market faster and to be more competitive.”
Export is a fundamental part of the equation. As Taiwan is a small market, it has to focus on selling to other markets, which means its partners can apply its principles wherever they are competitive. This is where the third pillar comes in.
Neutrality means all partners will have equal rights to the platform. Although Hon Hai spawned it, it is now an alliance, and it will become an independent organization in July 2021.
In June, a membership meeting will be held, probably to gather more partners all over the world. After becoming an independent organization in July, the MIH Alliance will present the New EVKit in October, exactly one year after it was first announced. That’s when Foxtron will start releasing its products.
The first one should be the electric bus you see above. It is not clear how the MIH Open Platform will underpin it, but that seems to be the case. The first buses will hit the roads in 2022.
When it comes to light passenger electric cars, the first one from Foxtron should be the C-segment electric SUV we have already shown you. It is interesting to see Foxtron aiming this segment: the same one the Nissan Qashqai made so important in Europe since its presentation in 2006. That said, we have no doubts it will be sold in Europe. The MIH Alliance also said the US is a target.
The meeting ended with Wei Guozhang, Chief Technology Officer of the MIH Alliance, stressing that “standardization, modularization, and platformization will greatly reduce the entry barriers for the development of electric vehicles.” In other words, the MIH Alliance aims to “create a generation of electric vehicles in which everyone has the opportunity to participate.”
Suppliers of engine and transmission parts from all over the world, this may be your train to the future. The MIH Alliance welcomes you aboard.