iPhone Maker Foxconn Is Getting into the EV Game

Earlier this week Taiwan-based Foxconn, better known as the manufacturer of iPhones, revealed three EV concepts under the Foxtron brand previewing vehicles it could put into production in the coming years. The reveal took place just days after a deal was announced in which Foxconn will buy and operate the Lordstown, Ohio, auto plant, with plans to produce the Lordstown Endurance pickup.

The Taiwanese manufacturer, which has been trying to the break into the EV industry for a few years, took the wraps off the the Model C—an SUV with seating for seven and a 435-mile range—promising 3.8-second launches from a standstill to 62 mph.

“The Model C’s four core features are: shape, space, power, and energy consumption,” Foxconn’s parent Hon Hai Technology Group said. “Its design does not only have a minimalist appearance, but it has also significantly minimized the spaces used for mechanical components, while maximizing seating space. The Model C, which is 4.64 meters long with a wheelbase of 2.86 meters, offers comfortable seating for 5+2 people and plenty of storage space, making it easy to navigate crowded metro areas while still enjoying the luxury of a larger car.”

Foxconn also revealed the Model E, a midsize sedan styled by Pininfarina boasting an output of approximately 750 hp and 2.8-second launches from 0 to 62 mph. The sedan quoted an even more impressive 466-mile range, though it’s doubtful that Foxconn had the EPA cycle in mind when advertising these figures.

“The Model E, jointly developed by Hon Hai and Italian design firm Pininfarina, is a technologically innovative luxury flagship sedan that can meet the needs of middle and high-end consumers,” the company added. “At the same time, it is also the high-quality first choice for businesses. The rear seat space can transform into a dedicated mobile office, with personal mobile devices seamlessly connected to the passenger car, enabling a series of smart applications such as face recognition door opening, smart windows, and vehicle and environment interfaces.”

The third vehicle revealed by the electronics giant was the Model T bus, promising a 250-mile range along with a badge that may irk a certain Dearborn-based automaker. Of course, Foxtron’s Model T is a large, two-axle passenger bus with about 40 seats inside.

The company plans to sell some of these under the Foxtron brand in a venture with car and bus maker Yulon Motor Group, which helps explain how Foxconn was able to produce a giant bus that looked production-ready at its presentation—Yulon happens to be Taiwan’s largest automaker.

But plans for possible US sales are far more murky at the moment despite the ambitious specs. Of course, production in Ohio and sales in the US are two different things, especially if Foxconn enjoys far lower production costs in Taiwan. So we wouldn’t bet on Foxtron vehicles arriving at your local Foxtron store anytime soon.

This wouldn’t be the first time that a tech giant has showed off EV concepts, with the latest high-profile reveal of an EV being the Sony car. There are, however, a few crucial differences in these two cases: Sony was mostly adamant on not having production plans for its sedan despite a very positive reception, using the sedan as a testbed for in-car technology. Hon Hai, on other other hand, is an electronics manufacturer that would like to expand into EV production for other companies under their own brands, including Fisker. It has the advantage of having independently developed its own battery-electric modular platform in 2020.

The next big test for Foxconn, of course, will be getting production of the Lordstown Endurance pickup up and running after a string of controversies and delays. If it can do that, perhaps there is room for it in the EV game when it comes to North America.

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