IPhone maker Foxconn reveals its electric car future

CNN business

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 expands plans to do for cars what it has 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 reach the company’s 40-45 percent stake 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, similar to how Magna Steyr builds some vehicles for automakers in Europe, such as Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar. The cars presented are intended to demonstrate Foxconn’s development and manufacturing capabilities.

In the United States, Foxconn recently started building electric pickups at a factory in Lordstown, Ohio, that used to make small cars for General Motors. GM sold the plant in 2019 to Lordstown Motors, a startup with plans to make electric pickup trucks. Lordstown Motors sold the factory to Foxconn earlier this year, while Foxconn in turn agreed to build Lordstown’s electric pickup truck, the Endurance, there. Lordstown Motors announced the start of production on September 29, with customer deliveries to begin later this year.

Foxconn Technology Group founder Terry Gou, left, unveils the Model B crossover at an event in Taipei, Taiwan.

Foxconn also has deals with Fisker Inc. to build a small, affordable car in Lordstown that Fisker calls the Pear. Another California startup, Indi EV, has also agreed to let Foxconn build its car, the Indi One, there. Aside from road cars, 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 proprietary technology is or will be in any of these cars. A Fisker spokesperson pointed out that the Pear may feature some Foxconn components or software, but will largely be CEO Henrik Fisker’s own design. The Lordstown Endurance pickup has no Foxconn components, a spokesman said, but the two companies have agreed to work together on future vehicles based on Foxconn technology.

Foxconn already has a production-ready electric vehicle in its home country. The Model C is sold there as the Luxgen N7, with deliveries scheduled to begin in the second half of next year, according to Foxconn. Luxgen’s parent company, the Yulon Group, and Foxconn formed a joint venture called Foxtron in 2021 to design and manufacture electric vehicles.

The Model C is described as a seven-seater crossover SUV. The newly introduced Model B city car on display at the Taipei event is essentially a smaller version of the Model C. The Model B was designed by Pininfarina of Italy, the company best known for developing Ferrari models for decades, but also collaborating with other EV companies such as VinFast of Vietnam. Pininfarina also designed one of Foxconn’s other electric vehicle prototypes, the Model E sedan unveiled last year.

Foxconn also displayed a four-wheel-drive electric pickup truck, which it describes as the “first Taiwan-designed and developed electric pickup truck.” The Model V is a four-door, five-seat truck that Foxconn says can carry a ton of cargo and tow up to three tons.

Various Foxconn companies are part of a large industry group called MIH, or Mobility in Harmony, a consortium working together to develop the fundamental EV engineering platform that underpins Foxconn’s EVs. Foxconn also boasted of its advances in developing solid-state batteries for electric cars, a technology that a number of companies are working on and that is expected to one day significantly increase the range and reduce the weight of electric cars.

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