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A Closer Look at Foxtron’s "EVKit" Electric-Vehicle Platform

April 29, 2021
The company that builds iPhones for Apple launches an open platform for EVs—called MIH—and has plans for a solid-state battery by 2024.

What you'll learn:

  • Who are the players in the MIH EV platform and ecosystem?
  • Specifics of Foxtron's EVkit, including the different controllable units.
  • Powertain dev agreement between Foxtron and Nidec.

For decades, the automakers behind EV production were heading in only one direction—using a closed system to develop their electric vehicles. But now Foxtron, Foxconn's electric car brand, is building an open EV platform called MIH that already has an ecosystem of partners behind it. They include Arm, Bosch, Texas Instruments, STMicro, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, as well as semiconductor manufacturer Infineon Technologies; Japan's Nidec, Murata Manufacturing, and NTT; and Chinese battery maker CATL.

Foxtron and Hua-chuang Automotive Information Technical Center under Yulon Motor have established Foxtron Vehicle Technologies, a joint venture to operate MIH, which is an open hardware/software-integrated platform for developing EVs. In exchange for access to the free platform, auto companies will contract out all production to Foxconn.

Foxtron's software and hardware open platform aims to position itself as the “Android system of the EV industry,” with which any automaker can alter the design to meet specific requirements. The MIH platform will allow the main features of an EV, such as the wheelbase, the wheel track, ground clearance, battery-pack sizes, and the suspension system, to be customized to meet all customer requirements.

Ecosystem EVkit

MIH’s EVKit uses drive-by-wire technology. This gives Autonomous Driving ecosystem partners a method to perform their system development and design, and for driving system developers, a starting point for their work.

The Autonomous Driving architecture is divided into two parts. The first part, the "sensors and decision-making system," utilizes information collected from the autonomous controller, HMI, and communication modules with sensors such as cameras, radars, LiDAR, and vehicles states to make calculations and actionable decisions. The second part is wire-controlled hardware, which receives the commands from the sensors and decision-making system to perform braking, steering, and acceleration/deceleration actions.

The software platform would be connected to Foxtron’s cloud and have an "EVkit" SDK that automakers could plug into their vehicles to control and use the battery pack and platform. Mass production is expected to begin in 2023. The company hopes to introduce a solid-state battery by 2024 and capture 10% of the global electric-vehicle market, about 3 million EVs, by 2027.

In the meantime, Foxtron Electronics also is developing lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries for use in electric vehicles.

Vehicle General Information (Source: Foxtron)

  • Length × width × height (mm): 4410 × 1785 × 1605
  • Wheelbase (mm): 2650
  • Front/rear tread (mm): 1505/1520
  • Weight (kg): 1625~1645
  • Motor type: permanent-magnet synchronous motor
  • MCU max. current (A): 525
  • MCU max. operating voltage (V): 400
  • Maximum torque (Nm): 250
  • Maximum power (kW): 130
  • Transmission fixed gear ratio: 1:9.07
  • Maximum rotating speed (rpm): 12,000
  • Battery type: ternary lithium battery
  • Battery pack (Ah): 153
  • Range (km): 360
  • Energy (kWh): 50
  • Fast charge time: 20% to approx. 80% (48 min.)
  • Slow charge time: 0%~90% (408 min.)
  • Drive type: front wheel drive
  • Front suspension: MacPherson
  • Rear suspension: twist Beam
  • Front/rear brakes: disc
  • Tire size: 215/55 R17
  • Turning circle (m): 5.7

Drivetrain (Source: Foxtron)

  • Drivetrain type: independent front, electric motor through gearbox, open differential
  • Performance:  ≤ 150-kph speed
  • Wheel side torque: 2267 Nm ≤ 500 ms for response time, command to wheel torque, ≤ 5% steady-state tracking error
  • Commands: 10 ms, wheel torque, ECU desired state/mode
  • Feedback: 10 ms, max. motoring/regen torque, pack SOC

After raw sensor data is processed by the Autonomous Driving system and control signals are sent to the wire-control system, different dynamic controllers will require different input signals and control sequences to operate as intended.

Controllable Units

The hardware interface of the EVKit development platform reserves power supply and signal wiring harnesses to connect to external devices, while a 120- terminal resistor is required between the vehicle and the connecting hardware. EVKit controllable units include the VCU (Vehicle Control Unit for gearing and powertrain), ESC (Electronic Stability Control for braking), EPS (Electric Power Steering for steering) and BCM (for Body components such as doors).

The ESC brake control is divided into AEB control and deceleration control mode. When the ESC receives the AEB control command, it will brake with the maximum clamping force of about 1.0 G = 9.8 m/s2. When the ESC receives the deceleration control, it will operate according to the requested deceleration. The ESC brake control has no starting conditions. It will act as long as it meets the requirements of the control command. Therefore, special care must be taken when using this function so as not to be triggered by mistake.

EPS steering control is divided into angle-control and torque-control status, which can’t be executed at the same time. EPS steering angle control is applicable for vehicle speeds below 10 km/h.

The hardware will be modular and flexible to meet the needs of automakers. Wheelbase, width, and height are all adjustable, according to Foxtron. The modules have front-, rear-, and all-wheel-drive variants with a variety of motors ranging from 95 up to 340 kW.

Foxtron has signed a memorandum of cooperation (MoU) with motor manufacturer Nidec Corp. for powertrain development in its next generation of electric vehicles and to strengthen the performance of the MIH open platform.

Nidec's powertrain system is known for its small-size, light weight, and high efficiency. Its motor products now cover the range from 50 to 200 kW, which is sufficient for most future electric vehicles. The company is targeting 40% to 45% of the global EV powertrain system market share by 2030.

Both companies are working on a plan that includes passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles. They intend to reveal initial results and demonstrations in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Battery packs take up about 30% of the total cost for an EV and up 50% of the total weight of an EV. If the weight of battery packs is reduced by 50%, an EV’s endurance running distance can be increased by 25%, implying the importance of decreasing weight and production costs for EV-use batteries.

According to Foxtron chairman Young-way Liu, the company plans to unveil sample EV-use solid-state batteries in 2021 and put such batteries into commercial use in 2024. Solid-state batteries can charge quicker and have a larger storage capacity than the lithium-ion batteries found in current vehicles. Foxtron has been working with battery supplier CATL and solid-state battery company SES.

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