IPhone maker Foxconn wants to dominate electric car manufacturing
Foxconn, the Taiwanese company best known for building Apple’s iPhones, recently showed off two new electric vehicles at an event in Taipei as the company expanded on its plans to do for cars what it’s already done for phones.
The company, officially Hon Hai Technology Group but better known as Foxconn, hopes to build 5% of the world’s electric cars by 2025, chairman Liu Young-way said at the event, according to Reuters. His ultimate goal is to one day approach the the 40% to 45% share the company has in computer and smartphone manufacturing, he said.
Foxconn has no plans to sell cars under its own name, just as it doesn’t sell Foxconn smartphones. Instead, it wants to build cars for other companies in much the same way that Europe’s Magna Steyr builds some vehicles for automakers such as Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar. The cars it unveiled are intended to show off Foxconn’s development and manufacturing capabilities.
In the United States, Foxconn recently started building electric pickups in a Lordstown, Ohio, factory that used to make small cars for General Motors. GM sold the plant to Lordstown Motors, a startup company with plans to make electric pickups, in 2019. Lordstown Motors sold the factory to Foxconn earlier this year while Foxconn, in turn, agreed to build Lordstown’s electric pickup, the Endurance, there. Lordstown Motors announced the start of production on September 29, with customer deliveries expected to start later this year.
Foxconn also has arrangements with Fisker Inc. to build a small, affordable car Fisker calls the Pear at Lordstown. Another California-based startup, Indi EV, has also agreed to have Foxconn build its car, the Indi One, there. Aside from road-going automobiles, Foxconn has also agreed to build an electric farm tractor, the Monarch MK-V, at the factory.
It’s not clear how much, if any, of Foxconn’s own engineering is, or will be, in any of those cars. A spokesman for Fisker indicated the Pear may have some Foxconn components or software but will be largely CEO Henrik Fisker’s own design. The Lordstown Endurance pickup has no components from Foxconn, a spokesperson said, but the two companies have agreed to work together on future vehicles based on Foxconn engineering.
Foxconn already has one EV ready for production in its home nation. The Model C will be sold as the Luxgen N7 there, with deliveries expected to begin in the second half of next year, according to Foxconn. Luxgen’s parent company, Yulon Group, and Foxconn created a joint venture called Foxtron in 2021 to develop and manufacture electric vehicles.
The Model C is described as a seven-seat crossover SUV. The newly revealed Model B city car, shown at the Taipei event, is essentially a smaller version of the Model C. The Model B was designed by Pininfarina of Italy, the firm best known for designing Ferrari models for decades but which also works with other EV companies like Vietnam’s VinFast. Pininfarina also designed one of Foxconn’s other electric vehicle prototypes, the Model E sedan, which was unveiled last year.
Foxconn also showed off an electric four-wheel-drive pickup, which it boasts is the “first electric pickup designed and developed in Taiwan.” The Model V is a four-door, five-seat truck that, according to Foxconn, can carry one ton of cargo and tow up to three tons.
Various Foxconn companies are part of an large industry group called the MIH, or Mobility in Harmony, consortium, which is jointly developing the basic electric vehicle engineering platform that underlies Foxconn’s electric vehicles. Foxconn also boasted of its progress developing solid state batteries for electric cars, a technology that a number of companies are working on and is expected to one day greatly increase the range and decrease the weight of electric cars.