Historic! Top iPhone assembler Foxconn unveils 3 EV prototypes

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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The Taiwanese multinational electronics contract manufacturer, Foxconn has unveiled its first electric vehicles (EV) prototypes, highlighting its ambitious plans to diversify away from the role of building consumer electronics for Apple and other tech firms.

The vehicles range, including SUV, sedan and bus, was made by Foxtron, a venture between Foxconn and Taiwanese car maker Yulon Motor. Executives including Mr. Young Liu, chairman of Foxconn’s flagship unit, Hon Hai Precision Industry, unveiled the vehicles at the company’s Technology Day event in Taipei.

The models unveiled are concept vehicles that the manufacturer plans to build for automotive customers rather than sell under its own brand. The sedan, which was jointly developed with Italian design firm Pininfarina, will be sold by an unspecified carmaker outside Taiwan in the coming years, while the SUV will be sold under one of Yulon’s brands and is scheduled to hit the market in Taiwan by 2023. 

The bus, which will carry a Foxtron badge, will start running in several cities in southern Taiwan next year in a partnership with a local transportation service provider. 

As part of its aggressive push into cars, Foxconn agreed last month to spend $280 million on the purchase of an auto plant in Ohio, US, from embattled startup Lordstown Motors. In August it bought a chip plant in Taiwan, aiming to meet future demand for automotive chips.

“We are no longer the new kid in town. We have gradually built an EV supply chain and showcased our EV hardware,” Mr. Liu said.

Foxconn is among the technology companies targeting EVs as a source of growth beyond low-margin electronics assembly. Foxconn has also set itself a target of providing components or services for 10 percent of the world’s EVs between 2025 and 2027.

Foxconn has yet to start sales of any vehicle following the debut of its EV platform last year. It plans to start mass production of Lordstown’s Endurance electric pickup in Ohio in April, according to a person familiar with its schedule.

In comparison, carmakers such as Tesla, Volkswagen and Hyundai Motor are already churning out EV models and spending billions of dollars on product development and capacity.

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