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iPhone to electric cars? Foxconn reveals EV platform, promises battery breakthroughs

The company best known for assembling the Apple iPhone wants in on the EV market.

Foxconn EV platform
Foxconn seems pretty thrilled with the possibilities.

Foxconn doesn't build cars, it builds the iPhone. But the Taiwanese firm wants to diversify itself and sees the electric car market as the ticket to future success. Last week, the company announced its own "open platform" for future EVs and promised big-time battery breakthroughs in just under four years.

As the kids say, this is "big if true." Nevertheless, Foxconn believes its platform nixes the issues many startup automakers have when it comes to creating the building blocks for a real electric car. That is, the vehicle's platform. The electronics manufacturer said its platform combines software and hardware to create an "open ecosystem" for firms to take advantage of, and with a more simplistic approach to vehicle development, the firm thinks more startups could jump aboard the EV train. In Foxconn's words, this open platform is the "Android system of the EV industry."

While a platform is great, EVs need juice to go places, and Foxconn is committed to that part, too. In fact, it tossed its hat into the ring to bring solid-state batteries to commercial viability in under four years. That's a mighty big task noting some of the biggest companies and automakers, including Toyota, don't think solid-state batteries (basically the holy grail of battery tech for cars) will be available until much later this decade at best. Solid-state batteries provide more stability in performance, pack more energy and can unlock fantastically long driving ranges in a smaller package. The thing is, no one has the right stuff to actually manufacture them -- yet.

Plenty of companies already plan to provide the big components for EVs in an "off-the-shelf" manner, but perhaps Foxconn can actually pull something off. One thing's certain: The auto industry seems poised for big changes in the next five years.

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