The future of electric transport is well underway as carmakers around the world prepare to phase out vehicles powered solely by internal combustion engines, encouraged by various government efforts to tackle fuel emissions and rising international demand for electric-powered alternatives. This massive transition to electric vehicles (EVs) has opened opportunities for advanced hi-tech suppliers to emerge and help these manufacturers, both large and small, build a new generation of products for the market. Taiwanese start-up XING Mobility has made its mark in the industry as a supplier of advanced electric batteries and powertrains to the world’s commercial, industrial and recreational vehicle makers. Its powertrain, which comprise the main components that generate power for a vehicle, include fully integrated electric motors, gearboxes and controllers. These can be deployed alongside both dedicated EV transmissions and existing internal combustion engines, allowing for quick and cost-effective retrofits. Royce Hong, co-founder and chief executive of XING Mobility, told the South China Morning Post how the company was established and why its battery cooling technology is a breakthrough in the industry. What does XING Mobility aim for? Founded in Taipei in 2015, XING Mobility aims to empower every and any vehicle maker to go electric. Our advanced electric battery and powertrain systems are already making its way into delivery trucks, snowmobiles, construction machines, racing cars and other vehicles across the globe. How was the company established? My co-founder Azizi Tucker and I met in 2013 at TEDxTaipei, where we were both speakers. As one of Tesla's earliest engineers since 2016, he had just left the company to set up a small yet avant-garde engineering consultancy in Taiwan. I was trained as a designer and later became a serial entrepreneur, holding positions as chairman of Panasonic Taiwan and founder of IPEVO, a maker of interactive education devices. Sparked by our shared passion – or should I say, obsession – for cars and disruptive technology, we decided to join forces to design and build a 250-kilowatt, fully electric prototype racing car. In the process, we became frustrated by the lack of effective and affordable battery packs and drivetrain systems. We recognised an unmet market need and sizeable demand for such technologies. This inspired Azizi and I to address this problem. We began by focusing our efforts on Immersion Cooling technology – a radical, yet highly effective, method of battery cooling that is much simpler, and therefore much more affordable, for vehicle makers like us who do not have Tesla-sized budgets. How does XING's battery technology differ from others in the market? XING Mobility has cracked the code on the most challenging aspect of EV battery systems, which is how to effectively and efficiently manage high heat, and prevent thermal runaway during high charge-and-discharge cycles. This is a prime factor in attaining safe and high-efficiency energy output for EVs, as failure to manage heat can lead to loss of power and charge, shortened life cycles, or severe explosions and fire hazards. Unlike the more commonly seen, widely adopted systems of circulating tubes of liquid coolant between battery cells within the battery pack used by the likes of Tesla and Chevrolet, XING Mobility has pioneered a superior cooling management system called immersion cooling, in which battery cells are directly submerged in a non-conductive coolant. This offers better heat transfer performance and packs temperature uniformly. We are confident about the performance and reliability of this method because we are actually our own first customer. In 2016, XING Mobility began building “Miss R”, a 1 Megawatt, four-motor electric supercar that serves as a crucial development platform and the ultimate proof of concept for our immersion-cooling battery technology. ‘Made in China 2025’: world’s biggest auto market wants to be the most powerful maker of electric cars What is the company’s main market? We believe that every vehicle that can be electric will become electric. So we supply to makers of commercial, industrial and recreational vehicles. Our core battery technology features a modularised design that stacks like Lego [blocks] to fit various sizes and shapes of vehicles. It is also ideal for non-automotive applications, which typically have a lower volume but a higher mix of vehicle types, so they can shift to electric and get to market very quickly. Our target market represents 68 per cent of the world’s current motorised vehicle unit production. There is a big need for solutions that can serve a wide range of vehicles. What are the challenges faced by XING in the market? Our main challenge right now is scaling fast enough to meet demand. There is a huge demand for electric commercial and industrial vehicles, as more industry players start to recognise the usability, access and total cost-of-ownership advantages of going electric. It's a challenge that extends to setting up more efficient production lines and assembly facilities, learning and addressing customer requirements, and refining our operations to be able to deliver products more quickly and effectively. The stones in the road for China’s 2025 plan on electric vehicles How did you become an entrepreneur? After I graduated and started my first job, I learned very quickly that design does not only serve an aesthetic purpose. It is also a tool for improving the functionality of a product as well as the quality of life for its users. By combining advanced design-thinking with an understanding of technology, I recognised that I was in a position to improve people's lives with well-designed, highly-effective products. This drove me to launch companies like this one, which offer something appealing and useful to society. What advice can you give to fellow entrepreneurs out there? My best advice to fellow entrepreneurs is borrowed from an Albert Einstein quote: “Play is the highest form of research”. For me, building Taiwan’s first electric supercar has fulfilled a lifelong childhood dream of mine. But in the process, we were able to conceive, innovate and test a brand-new breakthrough technology in the vehicle’s battery system, which otherwise would not have been possible. I believe that if you work on something you’re passionate about, innovation will naturally follow.