Automobile

Why it’s reality check time for the EV skateboard chassis

The rise of the skateboard pitch is connected to the need of startups to raise money, Cazes believes. “It’s an easy way for them to convince the financial markets they have a solution,” he said.

All the challenges linked to skateboard running chassis appear to have sparked a reality check. Ford canceled the Lincoln EV on the Rivian skateboard and has yet to commit to putting a vehicle from its namesake brand on these underpinnings. Ford announced last month that a new, dedicated EV architecture would underpin battery-electric versions of the Explorer and Lincoln Aviator crossovers, as well as midsize pickups and “rugged SUVs” that will go into production within the decade.

Meanwhile, Canoo CEO Tony Aquila indicated that the Hyundai deal is also over during an investor call in March, saying that the company was “de-emphasizing” its contract work. “We are not trying to be an assembler of parts. We are creating IP [intellectual property],” he said.

Williams Advanced Engineering, meanwhile, has rethought its skateboard chassis offering, first launched in 2017. It is now partnering with VW Group subsidiary Italdesign to offer a complete engineering service including top-hat design for automakers that need high-end EVs.

Williams made the switch after learning from potential customers that they felt there would still be a lot to do after buying the EVX skateboard.

“Anybody working with us would have had to do a lot of engineering to get to a product,” Paul McNamara, technical director for Williams Advanced Engineering, told journalists in April. “So, here we have done almost all the heavy lifting earlier on between ourselves and Italdesign.”

Meanwhile, Foxconn’s MIH electric platform, announced last October, combines hardware with software to make the integration of the EE architecture easier. The maker of Apple’s iPhone wants its solution to be as ubiquitous to the EV industry as Google’s Android operating system is to the smartphone and tablet sectors, Foxconn said in a statement.

“By allowing developers access to key technologies and tools for developing EVs on MIH, Foxconn reduces the entry barriers to the industry,” the company said.

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