Electric vehicles are no longer the sole realm of established automakers, and a slew of other businesses have entered the fray, all fighting for the attention of the end-user. While there are several start-ups throughout the world that have mounted a challenge to decades-old vehicle businesses, some of the most powerful firms in the electronics market are also making inroads.
Foxconn Technology Group revealed its first electric cars, a significant step that might strengthen the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer's credentials as a credible bidder for Apple's top-secret automobile project.
The SUV and sedan concepts unveiled on Monday are concept cars that the company intends to develop for automotive customers rather than sell under its own brand. The cars were introduced at Foxconn's flagship unit Hon Hai Precision Industry's Technology Day event in Taipei by executives including Young Liu, chairman of Foxconn's flagship unit Hon Hai Precision Industry.
Foxconn is the largest iPhone assembler, giving it an advantage as a possible automobile partner for Apple as the US corporation considers expanding into autos. As part of its aggressive drive into automobiles, Foxconn agreed in late September to pay $280 million for an auto facility in Ohio from troubled start-up Lordstown Motors.
"We're no longer the new kid in town," Liu explained. "We eventually established an EV supply chain and demonstrated our EV hardware."
Yulon Motor Co. of Taiwan will be Foxconn's first electric-car customer, said Lilian Chen, Yulon's chairwoman, during the Taipei event. Yulon's electric vehicle, made by Foxconn, is expected to cost less than NT$1 million ($35,700), according to Liu. Foxconn also showed off its electric bus, which will be delivered to a local transportation company next year.
For any prospective EV company, the Apple vehicle would be the ultimate reward. Foxconn's close ties with the US consumer electronics behemoth works in its benefit. The cooperation has grown over the years as Apple has introduced product categories, and the business currently accounts for about half of Foxconn's yearly revenue.
Apple's car is still years away, and the business has already endured setbacks, including the recent departure of the leader of its car project to Ford Motor Co. For years, an Apple automobile has been a bit of a conundrum: it's one of the business's most eagerly awaited products, yet the company has revealed practically little about it publicly.