Could contract manufacturer Foxconn build EVs for Tesla?
The Taiwanese firm Foxconn is renowned as a contract manufacturer for Apple. Less well-known is the fact that the company has been working to produce an EV since 2014.
Above: Foxconn's newly purchased site in Lordstown, Ohio. Photo: Foxconn
In 2021, Foxconn made a deal with Lordstown Motors, under which it bought a chunk of the latter’s factory, and will help it to produce EVs. The company is also building EV plants in Wisconsin and Thailand.
Also in 2021, Foxy unveiled an EV called the Model C, which was later renamed the Luxgen n7, and is being produced in partnership with Taiwanese automaker Yulon Group.
Now the company has unveiled two new EVs that it says will eventually be sold in the US. The Model V pickup and Model B crossover hatchback are aimed squarely at the hottest stateside vehicle segments. The former has a double-cab, 5-seat configuration, a payload capacity of up to one ton and a towing capacity of 3 tons. The company plans to manufacture it in Taiwan, Thailand and the US.
The Model B, which was designed in partnership with Pininfarina, is “based on the Model C platform, but with changes to the platform size and a new body design.” At this point, it’s described as a “concept prototype,” and few specs are on offer, other than a range of 450 kilometers and a 2.8-meter wheelbase.
Foxconn doesn’t appear to have any plans to establish its own brand—rather, most industry pundits expect it to follow its successful model, and manufacture the new vehicles for other automakers. In fact, at the recent unveiling event, Chairman Liu Young-way said that his company hopes to eventually be building a huge share of the world’s EVs, and even spoke of striking a manufacturing deal with the Big T.
“Based on our past records for the PC and cellphone markets...we’re at about 40-45% of the overall market share,” said Liu. “So, ambitions-wise, hopefully we are able to achieve the same kind of achievement like in the [IT industry], but we will start small, which is about 5% [of the EV market] in 2025. I hope one day we can do Tesla cars.”
If Foxconn could help OEMs alleviate some of their troublesome supply chain problems, that would be a big selling point. “Supply chain resilience has always been Foxconn’s DNA,” said Liu. “Our global footprint in 24 countries gives us a huge advantage to meet EV industry demands.”
As far as a Tesla deal, EV cognoscenti consider it unlikely. Tesla relied on contract manufacturing for the Roadster, but has moved steadily in the opposite direction since those days. Indeed, the company has invested much in perfecting production processes at its Gigafactories, and has touted “the machine that makes the machine” as a product in itself. In fact, Tesla is probably more likely to perform contract manufacturing for other automakers—as it briefly did in its early days, in abortive battery deals with Toyota and Daimler—than vice versa.