Could Wisconsin be home to the next electric vehicle production facility? China’s Foxconn thinks so.
Foxconn Chairman Liu Young-way told reporters Tuesday at an event in Taipei, Taiwan, the company was considering building an EV in the Badger state. It already invested $10 billion into the site that was supposed to build televisions in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin in 2017. It sits largely idle now. However, he also noted that Mexico remains a possibility.
“A lot of work depends on electronics and software for the EVs. We thought maybe it’s a good place to make EVs,” Liu said, according to Reuters.
First customer lined up?
The company, which is best known for assembly of Apple’s iPhone, formalized an agreement less than a month ago to build a vehicle for nascent EV company Fisker Inc. That followed the Chinese company’s reveal of its own battery-electric skateboard.
Plans for the vehicle, codenamed Project PEAR, see Fisker and Foxconn launching production late in 2023. They are targeting production of “more than 250,000” vehicles annually for sales around the world.
However, since it already enjoys a profitable relationship with Apple and the tech giant is reportedly looking to build an electric vehicle, could “Project Titan” share the same facility as a “Project Pear?” According to multiple reports, Apple was in talks with Hyundai in January to build the vehicle. The talks ultimately got shelved for a variety of reasons, potentially one of them centering on where to build the vehicle.
Late last year, Foxconn scored a deal to build vehicles with Fiat Chrysler, now Stellantis, in China. It’s also agreed to deals with Geely, Byton and Faraday Future, which is part of the deal with Geely.
Other suitors for Project Titan
At the time, South Korean media, citing industry analysts and unnamed company officials, were reporting that Apple would invest 4 trillion won, or about $3.6 billon, in Kia, the smaller of the brands making up the Hyundai Motor Group, or HMG. The plan, according to those reports, would be to produce about 100,000 autonomous, all-electric vehicles at the Kia assembly plant in West Point, Georgia, with longer-term goals of boosting that to as many as 400,000 vehicles annually.
Ultimately, Hyundai officials revealed in a South Korean regulatory filing that the company was “not in talks with Apple on autonomous vehicle development,” adding “Hyundai Motor is getting requests from multiple companies for cooperation in joint development of autonomous, electric vehicles but nothing has been decided since it’s in early stage.” As is customary, Apple officials were mum.
Canadian mega-supplier Magna International already serves as a contract manufacturer to a wide array of automakers using a flexible assembly plant in Graz, Austria. If anything, Magna has signaled interest in expanding its operations, announcing late last year a deal with EV automaker Fisker. That startup will use a platform developed by Magna as the underpinnings of the Fisker Ocean SUV set to go into production in 2022.
Magna has indicated it would like to set up similar arrangements with other nascent EV makers, the supplier also confirming it would be willing to build a second contract assembly plant in the U.S. if there was a viable economic plan.