There’s a growing chance your next electric car will be made by the same company as your iPhone
- Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, wants to make your next car.
- The Taiwanese giant assembles iPhones, iPads, and all sorts of other devices.
- She’s making deals to build cars for electric vehicle startups — and he wants to one day build Teslas.
There’s a strong chance that your next electric car — perhaps your first electric car — will be made by the same company as the iPhone in your hand right now.
And no, we’re not talking about Apple’s long-rumored autonomous vehicle, which Bloomberg reported has been delayed until 2026. Nor is Google cooking up a competitor to Tesla.
Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics giant that stocks all kinds of popular devices including iPhone, iPad, Kindle and Nintendo Switch, is diving first into the world of electric vehicles. But rather than selling electric vehicles under its own brand, it wants to design and build cars for established automakers and the new crop of electric start-ups.
In other words, what Foxconn is currently doing for Apple, it hopes to do for Tesla. In October, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Foxconn said that the company aims to one day manufacture 40-45% of the world’s electric vehicles, which is comparable to the success it has achieved in the field of electronics.
Foxconn unveiled its first electric vehicle prototypes last year and wasted little time ranking its car customer list. Earlier this year, the iPhone maker purchased a former General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio from auto startup Lordstown Motors. Lordstown Motors recently began shipping Foxconn-built electric pickup trucks to customers.
Fisker, another electric vehicle upstart, has hired Foxconn to build its second camper, the Pear, in Ohio starting in 2024. Foxconn will also build prototypes for another startup, the Indi EV. It has signed a partnership with Taiwan’s Yulon Motor.
Germany’s Automobilwoche reported in November that Volkswagen is considering hiring Foxconn to build its brand-new Scout and pickup electric SUV destined for US buyers.
Foxconn’s entry into electric vehicles is a smart move, Bill Russo, founder and CEO of Automobility, a Shanghai-based auto advisory firm, told Insider. The company has been very successful carrying capital-intensive parts for electronics manufacturing, in part because of its ability to procure components in high volumes. It’s well-positioned, he said, to do the same for electric vehicle makers, who are eager to reduce the massive investment required to develop a vehicle and bring it to market.
In addition, vehicles are becoming increasingly online and computerized, requiring more and more electronic components that Foxconn knows best about.
“It looks a lot like hardware that Foxconn makes today. A lot of screens, a lot of chips, a lot of things that they know how to buy in large enough quantities” to keep costs down, Russo said.
Tu Le, managing director of automotive consulting firm Sino Auto Insights, says Foxconn’s entry will be a boon for EV startups that don’t have the money to build their own factories. American startups Rivian and Lucid have spent huge sums setting up factories of their own, but not all fresh-faced electric vehicle companies have this kind of access to capital.
“There will be a lot of asset-light electric startups that will take off in the next 24-30 months in the US, and they will need a capacity plant that can sell them a finished good at a wholesale price.”
And Le could see existing automakers without strong union ties — such as Tesla — outsource production to Foxconn one day. But first, the company will have to prove that it can produce electric SUVs and pickup trucks to the same standards as iPads and iPhones.
“It’s a huge opportunity ahead of them if they can prove that the first vehicles to roll off the line in Ohio are the highest quality, highest reliability, and highest safety standards Americans have come to expect,” said Low.
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