LORDSTOWN — A Foxconn-driven initiative that promotes collaboration and harmony in the mobility industry — the MIH Consortium — plans to create an innovation hub near the Taiwanese tech giant’s electric-vehicle factory in Lordstown.
The plan is to bring together global supply-chain partners to share expertise and partner on EV and mobility projects, as well as share technologies and solutions for automakers, according to MIH (mobility in harmony).
“This effort aims to accelerate EV innovation and revitalize American manufacturing,” a release from MIH states. “By leveraging Foxconn’s resources and infrastructure in the United States, MIH is creating an EV ecosystem that spans the entire development process.”
MIH made the announcement Thursday at CES, the annual tech industry event formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
At the gadget show, MIH has brought together EV startups Lordstown Motors Corp. and southern Califonia’s INDIEV, and Livermore, Calif.-based Monarch Tractor, a maker of autonomous farm tractors — all of which will be produced at Foxconn’s Lordstown plant.
The company has contract manufacturing agreements to make Lordstown Motors’ battery-powered truck, the Endurance, and Monarch’s MK-V Series tractor. It also has an agreement with INDIEV to make the prototype versions of INDIEV’s Indi One, billed by the company as the first-ever vehicle with a vehicle-integrated computer capable of high-end gaming and learning the driver’s habits.
Production of the Endurance, a finalist for the North America Truck of the Year award, already has begun; 31 have been produced, and six have been delivered to customers.
Full-rate production of the MK-V Series tractor is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of this year, Monarch has said.
“MIH is not only a pioneer in the open EV platform, but also an expert in the automotive supply chain,” Jack Cheng, consortium CEO, said. “There are many emerging EV brands in the U.S. market that need the support of diverse supply chain partners. MIH can bring together top partners from around the world, allowing OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to communicate directly and break the hierarchical model of the traditional automotive industry. This will help accelerate the development and mass production of new EVs.”
According to the consortium, the Midwest region of the U.S. plays a large role in the global automotive industry.
“As the world shifts towards EVs and new mobility services, the region’s abundance of talented workers and automotive supply chain will bring new opportunities for the U.S. auto industry and economic development,” the release states.
Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer for consumer electronics, has two factories in the U.S. — Lordstown, which focuses on manufacturing Lordstown Motors’ and other vehicles and one in Wisconsin, which, for now, mainly focuses on information and computer technology products. It could, however, “be used as a development hub for the EV industry in the future,” the release states.
“These two factories are located along an automotive corridor that spans several states in the Midwest, which will help drive the development of the entire supply chain,” Cheng said. “By leveraging the resources of Foxconn, the MIH will be able to greatly deepen and broaden its partnerships in the North American ecosystem.”
Guy Coviello, Youngstown / Warren Regional Chamber president / CEO said: “The region is blessed to house MIH’s innovation hub. As competition continues to grow exponentially in the emerging EV industry, MIH’s consortium and new established hub offers the (Mahoning) Valley a diversified and solid foundation.”
This hub is separate from a proposed EV workforce training and innovation center Foxconn is planning in partnership with Youngstown State University.
Announced in October, the center plans would help the emerging EV industry build and scale a sustainable workforce around advanced manufacturing, energy storage and other integrated technology solutions, such as artificial intelligence, 5G and cybersecurity.