Xing Mobility, a Taiwanese startup founded in 2015 by Royce Hong and Azizi Tucker, a former Tesla engineer, points the way for Taiwan as the country formulates a strategy to enter the global electric vehicle (EV) supply market.
Now the startup’s CTO, Tucker recognized the high adaptability of Taiwan’s small and medium enterprises in 2007 when he was seeking components for Tesla’s first EV model – Roadster. When released in 2008, Roadster had 40% Taiwanese components.
The rising trajectory of Xing Mobility tells exactly such a story of how Taiwanese SMEs can carve out their own spheres in the growing EV market.
Tackling the pain point in EV batteries
Crucial to Xing Mobility’s EV battery solution is its unique liquid cooling system. As fast charging becomes an essential feature for the wide adoption of EV, rapid charging/discharging cycles inevitably cause battery temperature to rise. Therefore, battery thermal management becomes a top priority, and remains a key technical challenge to overcome.
While Nissan LEAF uses air cooling, a simple but primitive way of thermal management, major EV makers such as Tesla and Volkswagen rely on liquid cooling: currently the most effective solution. However, they have opted for an indirect type of liquid cooling, achieved by circulating liquid with higher heat conductivity through a system of pipes.
Xing Mobility has developed a direct liquid cooling system – immersion cooled modular battery system. By directly and uniformly submerging battery cells with a liquid coolant, the technique not only prolongs battery life, but also reduces EV construction cost by simplifying the cooling design.
After 4 years of R&D, Xing Mobility has now claimed the throne of being the first company to have successfully applied immersion direct cooling on EV batteries and commercialized it.
Refusing to be the Taiwanese Tesla
Three years ago, Xing Mobility released Miss R and Miss E, two EV prototypes entirely designed, engineered and made in Taiwan. Despite its success in producing the EV prototypes, Xing Mobility has never been interested in becoming Taiwan’s counterpart to Tesla.
Positioning itself as a key enabler of an electrified future, Xing Mobility plans to empower companies, particularly SMEs, seeking entry into the EV market, but lacking the resources and budgets to do so, as battery packs can’t fit in battery modules: a new vehicle system has to be designed.
The Swiss Army Knife for automobile industry
The startup’s key strength comes from its highly modular battery system that can be configured into a wide variety of sizes, shapes and above all, power needs. Above all, it can fit into existing vehicle models.
With this vision, Xing Mobility aims for a niche EV market.
According to Hong, CEO of Xing Mobility, passenger cars only account for 32% of the global automobile market. The remaining share is represented by a wide variety of specialized vehicles that come in different sizes and shapes, such as cement mixer trucks, electric buses and even boats. Prototypes like Miss R and Miss E were merely intended as proofs of concept (PoCs) for Xing Mobility’s battery and powertrain systems.
The characteristic becomes crucial when supplying manufacturers that build relatively lower-volume vehicles with a wide range of specifications. Despite the low volume, it nevertheless brings high profit margins.
Most importantly, with the high adaptability of its products, Xing Mobility is on the path to become the Swiss Army Knife for an automobile industry looking to electrify its fleet and in need of rapid deployment and fast prototyping abilities.
A strategy worth emulating?
As a unique example of a proactive Taiwanese startup able to set the terms of the game and explore new markets, Xing Mobility has grabbed the attention of the famed silicon valley venture capitalist, Tim Draper. Draper was an early investor in Tesla. Andrew Tang, a representative of Draper, was looking for precisely such characteristics in other Taiwanese startups.
Targeting such a niche market can be a strategy worth emulating for Taiwanese companies, especially as an alternative to direct competition with big entrenched players in the global EV market – a growing concern after Foxconn announced its EV ambition.
Meanwhile, Xing Mobility is also contemplating if it should join Foxconn’s MiH initiative.