Reimagining the Automobile

Royce Hong’s Made-in-Taiwan Electric Supercar

2018 / March

Lynn Su /photos courtesy of Chuang Kung-ju /tr. by Scott Williams

Many people love cars, but few are able to indulge that love to its fullest. Royce Hong, chairman of Panasonic Taiwan and CEO of ­IPEVO, is one of those few. His passion for automobiles has manifested in a number of ways, including a car collection that includes antiques as well as the first Tesla Roadster in Taiwan. It also includes his involvement with Xing Mobility, an automotive technology company he cofounded in early 2015 with former Tesla engineer ­Azizi Tucker, whom he came to know through his Roadster.




Royce Hong looks elegant in his casual suit and thick-rimmed glasses. The CEO of three companies, he speaks about his favorite cars not just as a fan, but as an entrepreneur sensitive to changing trends, and as a former industrial designer in touch with the human side of products. His enthusiasm is contagious even to someone who doesn’t get cars.

Hong says that he’s an ardent fan of technology. As one of the earliest of early adopters, he is what market analysts who study technology adoption lifecycles call an “innovator,” one of the 2.5% of consumers who track the smallest changes to products and always rush out to buy the newest versions. Hong came to this kind of “innovation” through his love of cars.

“Cars offer a complete product experience.” Hong elaborates, explaining that every detail of the auto­motive experience, from the vehicle’s appearance to its steering and acceleration, delivers pleasure each time you drive. It’s as if each driving experience opens a hidden window to a realm of opportunity and magic. “Those experiences are priceless!”

Hong’s purchase of his Tesla Roadster seven years ago upended his thinking about cars. A first-generation product from a production run of just 2,400 vehicles, the car suffers from a myriad of ills, yet Hong saw it as the gateway to a new dimension. “It’s like a smartphone: once you’ve used one, there’s no going back.”

He has since parked this Tesla in the lobby of Xing Mobility as an example of the forward thinking and the boundless imagination that electric cars represent.

The future is now

A farsighted tech lover who is usually ahead of the pack, Hong has a feel for the culture of young people. “It’s like the technology adoption lifecycle. The early adopters of a product tend to be people who focus on the technology rather than the functionality. Once users gain experience with a product and work out the kinks, it jumps the divide into the mainstream.” He says that the same thing is happening with electric cars.

Hong chose to call his new car company “Xing” as an embodiment of his expectations for the electric vehicle industry and of his observations of cultural phenomena. He explains: “‘X’ represents the unknown, the experimental. It suggests a future that is happening right now. The ‘ing’ was inspired by the language of Taiwanese subculture, such as the Mayday song ‘Lian’ai ing’ [‘love-ing’], and represents youthfulness and things occurring in this moment. Together, the name suggests ‘the future happening now’ and ‘creating possibilities through experimentation,’ which are the kinds of things you associate with an innovative company.”

Exploiting Taiwan’s strengths

Hong drew up his strategy soon after founding the company, focusing Xing on electric vehicle techno­logy R&D and consulting. But it still needed to build a platform capable of highlighting its technological prowess. While 2016’s “Miss E” electric car was only an experimental platform for innovative tech, this year’s ”Miss R” supercar is a more fully developed demonstration model.

A former product designer, Hong continues to be very concerned with finding ways to make his products unique. Happily, Xing has succeeded. “Everything about our car, from R&D to production, was done in Taiwan,” says Hong. But, since Xing itself focuses on R&D, the manufacturing was outsourced to dozens of factories.

Taiwan’s manufacturing sector is known for being highly flexible, producing large numbers of different high-quality products in small volumes, and ­bringing production online quickly. Distances between factories are also short, and communication is nearly ­instant­aneous.

All of this enabled the Miss R to go from the concept stage to the street in just 18 months, a process that might easily take three to five years overseas. Hong says, “We couldn’t have done it so fast without Taiwan’s production chain.”

Fastest in the world

Hong’s unusual background adds a humanistic element to the hard-nosed engineering that typically characterizes a company specializing in automotive R&D.

He reveals that when they were about to release 3D renders of the Miss R, they incorporated examples of Tong Yang-tze’s calligraphy into the vehicle’s exterior paintwork. Such creative flourishes grow out of Hong’s insight into cultural value.

Hong has known Tong for years, yet, as a mark of his respect, always refers to her as “Master Tong.” He admires the explosive power of her calligraphy, and the way in which her use of line has aligned her calli­graphy with contemporary art in a way unique in the Greater China region. “I think that Master Tong’s calli­graphy embodies the special character of Taiwan’s culture.”

That connection led to the idea of cooperating with Tong, and to Hong’s attempt to incorporate calli­graphy into automotive design.

For this endeavor, he chose to use a non-standard calligraphic style filled with tension and a con­tempor­ary aesthetic. Hong views calligraphy as an art that condenses time, and sees it echoing the motion of a vehicle speeding through time and space. Tong’s calli­graphy is dynamic, like a car, and its incorporation into Taiwan’s first electric sports car generates a high level of cultural tension. Hong says, “Calli­graphy moves. A car moves, too. This is without doubt Master Tong’s ‘fastest’ work.” 

Patented tech

Though just two years old, Xing has already enjoyed R&D successes. Electric cars rely on battery power, but discharging power to run a motor generates large amounts of heat. If the battery temperature exceeds a certain threshold, the heat can shorten the battery’s life and even become a safety issue. This makes heat dissipation a key issue for electric car companies. Xing’s Tucker came up with the idea of immersing batteries in 3M’s “Novec Engineered Fluid,” an electric­ally non-conductive, corrosion-resistant liquid. Xing’s immersive cooling stands in contrast to the approach of companies like Tesla, which cool their batteries by wrapping them in coolant-filled metal pipes, and is much more efficient.

Working from this idea, the team developed a modular, stackable, sealable, pressure-resistant battery pack that has attracted attention from customers in Europe, the Middle East and Japan interested in applying it to commercial vehicles, such as trucks and excavators.

Hong’s favorite quote is a remark often attributed to Albert Einstein, that play is the highest form of research. In his journey from car lover to electric car entrepreneur, Hong has transformed from an “innovative” consumer to a trendsetter, and come to exemplify this insight.

Relevant articles

Recent Articles

繁體 日本語



文‧蘇俐穎 圖‧莊坤儒

許多人都愛車如命,但能把這份愛發揮到極致的,實在不多。台灣松下董事長、愛比科技執行長洪裕鈞,就是個異數。因為愛車,他蒐集古董車;也因為愛車,他成為特斯拉第一代跑車「Roadster」的第一位台灣車主,甚至因為這份機緣,讓他與前特斯拉汽車主管齊塔克(Azizi Tucker),共同攜手在2015年初,成立以電動車技術開發為主的「行競科技公司」(Xing Mobility)。












從公司成立的初期,洪裕鈞便擬定策略,雖然公司以電動車技術的研發與顧問為主,但仍得推出一項代表性產品,用以展現技術實力。2016年發表的電動賽車Miss E,還只是許多新創技術的實驗平台。將在今年正式發表的電超跑Miss R,將有更完熟的表現。就像設計師最在意的,是如何做出具有辨識度的作品,作為公司的舵手,洪裕鈞同樣在為自家的產品尋找獨特性。


可喜的是,他們做到了。「我們的車,在製造面上,從研發到生產,Only in Taiwan!」洪裕鈞自信地說。由於行競以研發為主,在製造上,包含立偉模具工業、先進複材科技等數十家傳產廠商,都是他們重要的協力夥伴。洪裕鈞特別說明:「台灣的供應商,因為要接國外客戶的單,被磨出了高品質,在生產技術、品質、效率與成本控管上也都很好。」


Miss R從概念發想到正式上路,不過短短18個月,國外動輒3、5年時間,這樣的成績,讓洪裕鈞相當滿意:「如果不是台灣的產業鏈,我們也不可能做到這樣的成績!」



洪裕鈞向我們透露,即將發表的Miss R 3D模擬圖,書法藝術家董陽孜的墨寶將在Miss R的車身外殼塗裝上現身!這樣叫人振奮的創舉,不得不歸功於洪裕鈞在人文價值上的眼光。








許多人說,台灣沒有真正的汽車產業,也沒有汽車文化與賽車傳統,那麼,到底為什麼要做電超跑?洪裕鈞逆向而行,在這個仍待開發的處女地,不僅繳交出漂亮的成績,也做出在地特色。他向我們分享他喜愛的愛因斯坦的一句話:「Play is the highest form of research.」(遊戲是研究的最高境界)從一個車迷到投資創業,涉足電動車領域,他不僅是搶得先機的消費者,如今,也要成為趨勢的領航者,而他自己就是這句話的實踐者。



文・蘇俐穎 写真・莊坤儒 翻訳・久保 恵子

車が大好きという人は多いが、その車への愛を究極まで追い求める人は多くはない。パナソニック台湾の董事長で愛比科技公司CEOでもある洪裕鈞は、その数少ない一人である。車を愛したためクラシックカーを集め、また同じく車を愛したために、テスラのスポーツカー、ロードスターを台湾で最初に購入した。それが縁となって、テスラのアジジ・タッカーと知り合い、さらには、2015年初頭に共同で電気自動車の研究開発を主とするXing Mobility(行競科技公司)を設立した。










会社設立当初の洪裕鈞は、経営方針を電気自動車技術の研究開発とコンサルティングを中心事業としながら、代表的な製品を発表して技術力を示すことと定めた。2016年に発表した電気レースカーMiss Eは、新しい技術の実験プラットフォームに過ぎなかったが、今年発表したMiss Rはより成熟した技術を見せる。デザイナーは他との差別化に心を砕き、会社のリーダーとして洪裕鈞は、自社製品の独自性を追い求めた。



Miss Rはコンセプトから正式発表まで18カ月しかかかっておらず、洪裕鈞は「台湾のサプライチェーンだからこそ可能になった」と語る。



洪裕鈞によると、Miss Rの3Dレンダリングにおいて、書家董陽孜の書がMiss Rの車体に塗装されているという。この快挙は、洪裕鈞の文化芸術への理解が基となっている。





設立して2年の会社だが、革新的技術開発に成果を挙げている。電気自動車は電池で駆動するのだが、放電過程で大量の熱エネルギーが発生し、温度が高すぎると電池の寿命に影響するし、さらに安全性の問題ともなる。そこでいかに有効に放熱するかが、自動車メーカーを悩ませてきた問題だった。それがアジジ・タッカーの提案により、電池を電気絶縁性が高く、酸や腐食に強い3Mの高機能性液体(3M™Novec™ Engineered Fluid)に直接浸漬することにした。テスラなどのほかのメーカーが冷却液を注入した金属管を電池の周囲に廻らせているのに比べると、浸漬するタイプの冷却技術の効果は勝っているという。


洪裕鈞は、その座右の銘としてアインシュタインの「Play is the highest form of research」(遊びこそ研究の最高の境地)を紹介してくれた。一人のカーマニアが起業し、電気自動車の領域に足を踏み入れた。トレンドを先取りするだけでなく、今の彼はトレンドの創始者として、この座右の銘の実践者になったのである。

X 使用【台灣光華雜誌】APP!