From Apple Maker to EV Maker

From Apple Maker to EV Maker

This week, Foxconn, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, displayed its first three electric car prototypes, highlighting the company's ambitious intentions to move away from producing consumer electronics for Apple Inc. and other tech companies. At its Hon Tai Tech Day event, the Taiwanese company best known for contract manufacturing Apple's iPhone introduced the first three Foxtron models. The Model C crossover, Model E sedan, and Model T bus are among the three cars still at the prototype stage. 

It's possible that Foxconn will change the names before starting manufacturing. The name of the bus is sure to irritate Ford, which previously barred Tesla from using the Model E brand for the Model 3.

Foxtron, a joint venture between Foxconn and Taiwanese automaker Yulon Motor, produced the cars, which included an SUV, a sedan, and a bus.

Tso Chi-sen, Foxconn Vice Chairman, told reporters that electric vehicles would be worth a trillion Taiwan dollars to Foxconn in five years, which is almost $35 billion.

Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, aspires to become a key player in the global electric vehicle market, and has signed agreements with Fisker Inc of the United States and PTT PCL of Thailand.

At the Hon Thai Tech Day event, Foxconn Chairman Liu Young-way said, "Hon Hai is ready and no longer the new kid in town.”  The event coincided with the birthday of the company's billionaire founder Terry Gou. To the music of "Happy Birthday," Gou drove the sedan onto the stage, which was co-developed with Italian design firm Pininfarina.

In the future years, an unnamed manufacturer will sell the sedan outside of Taiwan, while the SUV will be offered under one of Yulon's brands and will enter the market in Taiwan in 2023.

In a partnership with a local transportation service provider, the bus, which will have the Foxtron logo, will begin running in numerous places in southern Taiwan next year.

To produce the electric cars, Foxconn purchased a plant from Lordstown Motors Corp, a U.S. startup, earlier this month. It purchased a semiconductor facility in Taiwan in August to meet future demand for automotive chips.

Foxconn has also established a goal of supplying components or services for 10% of the world's electric vehicles by 2025-2027.

Foxtron, a joint venture between Foxconn and Yulon Motor Group, a Taiwanese carmaker that has constructed automobiles under license from established automakers including Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, and Nissan, was founded a year ago.

The Model C and Model E are built on Foxconn's modular electric vehicle platform, which debuted last year. Foxconn also stated at the time that it was working on solid-state battery technology for 2024.

The Model C sports a 5+2 seating arrangement with a short third row and can go from zero to sixty miles per hour in 3.8 seconds. With a 750-horsepower output, the Model E cuts that time by a second, according to the firm. Both models will have a range of 400 miles, according to Foxconn, though it's unclear whose testing cycle that is based on.

The Model T is said to have a 250-mile range and a top speed of 75 mph. Production is expected to begin in 2022. In 2023, the Model C will be released, and it will be offered in Taiwan under the Yulon name. The Model E car will be released at a later date, according to Foxconn.

Foxconn has attempted to enter the auto sector on multiple occasions. It attempted to revive Chinese EV startup Byton with an investment earlier in 2021. It also formed a joint partnership with Geely, the parent company of Volvo.

Although it's unclear whether any Foxtron models will be sold in the United States, Foxconn has explored intentions to build electric vehicles in the country. Last month, Foxconn announced a collaboration with Lordstown Motors to buy the truck maker's former General Motors facility, thereby turning it into a contract manufacturer for Lordstown and giving it a site to assemble the impending $30,000 Fisker EV—as well as maybe its own vehicles.