Taiwanese giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Company, better known as Foxconn, has announced plans to start accepting pre-orders for a product that won’t be confused with anything it makes. Pre-orders for the Model C SUV, with an expected price of less than 1 million New Taiwan Dollars (NTD, or less than $38,000), will begin on October 18, during Foxconn’s Technology Day. The cars will be delivered in the first half of next year. It’s the most visible part of vendor Apple’s efforts to become a major electric vehicle brand.
There’s no denying the need for automotive electric power in a world that’s thirsty for clean, carbon-free energy. Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer and Apple’s main iPhone supplier, aims to capture around 5% of the global electric vehicle market share by the end of 2025. produce between 500,000 and 750,000 electric vehicles per year by the same year.
Fleet of electric vehicles
Since Foxconn launched its electric vehicle (EV) prototypes at the Tech Day event a year ago, its move to EVs may require a tune-up in your knowledge base. Three models are involved: the Model C recreational sport utility vehicle, the Model E sedan and the Model T electric bus, all developed by Foxtron Vehicles Technologies Co., a joint venture between Hon Hai and Taiwan’s largest automaker, Yulon Motor Company.
Jointly developed with Italian design firm Pininfarina SpA, the Model E sedan offers around 750 hp of power, 0-100 km acceleration in 2.8 seconds and a range of 750 km (435 miles) to meet the anxiety of most EV users. Serial production of the Model E sedan is scheduled for 2024.
The first-to-sell Model C tops out at 700km and is about a second slower at 100km. It is 4.64 meters long with a wheelbase of 2.86 meters and offers 5+2 seats for people as well as storage space. The SUV has a low drag coefficient of 0.27, according to Foxtron.
The Model C and Model E will initially be sold by Yulon-affiliated brands Luxgen Motor Co. and China Motor Corp., according to Young Liu, chairman of Hon Hai Technology Group. Yulon Motors also manufactures Mitsubishi and Nissan cars for its home market.
Hon Hai Precision Industry, Foxtron Vehicle Technologies and San-Ti Group recently held a ceremony in Kaohsiung Taiwan marking the delivery of Foxtron’s first Model T electric bus to San-Ti Group-owned Kaohsiung Bus Company.
Foxconn’s long-term EV plans
Founded in 1974, Foxconn is one of the world’s largest electronics makers, and EVs could bolster the Taiwanese company’s credentials as a serious bidder to produce Apple’s secret EV product. But the announcement that it will start selling its own EVs strongly suggests that Foxconn will be in the EV business with or without Apple.
Additionally, Foxconn is looking to break out of its manufacturing shell and create its own consumer-facing brand. Last fall, it announced details of the launch and activation of partners around software innovations such as Smart Gateway, Smart Cockpit, Smart Autonomous Driving and other software applications.
All three EV concepts showcased at Foxconn’s Tech Days 2021 event were built on an open EV platform known as MIH. The MIH Alliance is an open standard founded by the company with the aim of enabling Taiwanese electric vehicle component manufacturers and others to cooperate with each other.
The MIH Consortium has also entered into an alliance with the Autoware Foundation, the first in the world to offer an open source autonomous driving system. The partnership aims to accelerate the development of an integrated solution for autonomous electric vehicles. The alliance between the Autoware Foundation and Foxconn will allow developers to commercialize automotive-grade self-driving solutions that can be scaled through the MIH Open EV platform.
Foxconn said it will build electric vehicle manufacturing facilities in the United States and Thailand next year. Over the past year, the company has reached deals to buy Lordstown Motors’ Ohio plant (GM sold its Lordstown assembly complex to Lordstown Motors in November 2019 for $20 million), partner with European car brand Stellantis and build cars for Los Angeles-based EV startup Fisker. Foxconn has contracted with Fisker to produce that company’s Pear electric vehicle at the Lordstown plant.