The Foxconn logo will be displayed on a Foxconn building in Taipei on January 31, 2019.
Sam Yeh | AFP | Getty Images
Taiwan’s Foxconn unveiled its first three electric vehicle prototypes on Monday, underscoring its ambitious plans to diversify away from its role of building consumer electronics for Apple and other tech companies.
The vehicles – an SUV, a sedan and a bus – were made by Foxtron, a company between Foxconn and Taiwanese automaker Yulon Motor.
Foxtron vice chairman Tso Chi-sen told reporters that he hoped Foxconn electric vehicles would be worth one trillion Taiwan dollars in five years – a sum equivalent to about $ 35 billion.
Formally referred to as the Hon Hai Precision Industry, the world’s largest electronics contractor is aiming to become a major player in the global EV market, despite admitting to be a newcomer to the automotive industry.
The company first mentioned its electric vehicle ambitions in November 2019 and moved ahead relatively quickly. This year it announced agreements to build cars with the US start-up Fisker and the Thai energy company PTT.
“Hon Hai is ready and not the new kid in town anymore,” said Foxconn Chairman Liu Young-way of the birthday event of billionaire founder Terry Gou, who took the limousine to the tune of “Happy Birthday”.
Developed in collaboration with Italian design firm Pininfarina, the sedan will be sold by an unspecified automaker outside of Taiwan in the coming years, while the SUV will be sold under one of Yulon’s brands and is due to hit the Taiwanese market in 2023.
The bus, which will carry a Foxtron badge, will go into operation in several cities in southern Taiwan next year in collaboration with a local transport service provider.
“Foxconn has made pretty good progress so far,” said Kylie Huang, tech analyst at Daiwa Capital Markets.
Foxconn is also committed to providing components or services to 10% of the world’s electric vehicles between 2025 and 2027.
This month it bought a factory from US startup Lordstown Motors Corp to make electric cars. In August, it bought a chip factory in Taiwan to meet future demand for automotive chips.
A successful venture by contract fitters into the automotive industry has the potential to attract a range of new players and undermine the business models of traditional automotive companies. The Chinese automaker Geely has also drawn up plans this year to become a large contract manufacturer.
Industry observers pay close attention to clues as to which companies could build Apple’s electric car. While sources have previously said the tech giant plans to bring a car to market by 2024, Apple has not revealed any specific plans.