Foxconn’s chief executive said the company is trying to establish a standardized electric vehicle platform, targeting India or Thailand to produce the small battery-powered cars it is developing.

The Taiwanese company’s electric vehicle platform unit Mobility in Harmony (MIH) is willing to work with its parent company or other companies to build new three-seater electric vehicles priced under $20,000 (approximately Rs. 16,00,000) and customized for enterprise delivery Automotive MIH CEO Jack Cheng said in an interview with Reuters.

Cheng added that MIH has been in talks with convenience stores, car rental companies and delivery companies before unveiling its first prototype electric car at Japan’s largest auto trade show in October.

He declined to name the company in talks with MIH but said the car would be priced between $10,000 (roughly Rs. 8,00,000) and $20,000. India and Thailand could be contenders for production bases, he said, adding that he expected India to be critical to MIH’s long-term growth.

“You build where the potential market is … in India or Southeast Asia, you have a huge volume opportunity right now,” said Cheng, who called India a potential “next generation emerging force” in electric vehicles.

MIH has not previously described its manufacturing strategy or potential customers for its new vehicles.

Since 2021, Foxconn has formed a joint venture with Thailand’s state-owned energy company PTT to focus on electric vehicles, an area of ​​focus for Southeast Asian governments.

For its part, Foxconn, which once dominated consumer electronics like Apple’s iPhones, has so far not struck a deal that would suggest the electric vehicle market could be opened to the type of contract manufacturing.

Foxconn established the MIH consortium of about 2,600 suppliers two years ago to create an open platform that could be equivalent to Google’s Android operating system for electric cars.

Cheng acknowledged that MIH “hasn’t seen success yet,” but said rewards for participating suppliers will come with orders for a new series of electric vehicles called Project X. The idea is to use a low-cost shared platform that allows enterprise fleet operators to order custom-built electric vehicles.

The model has been largely untested so far, and analysts say the best opportunities for new EV entrants like Foxconn may be in the coming years as established automakers and startups ramp up their own production. End within.

Cheng said MIH plans to start production of the three-seat electric vehicle about 18 to 24 months after the prototype is unveiled in October. The six-seater electric car is planned to be launched in 2024, and the nine-seater electric car is planned to be launched in 2025.

According to its timeline, MIH would take four or more years from inception to first sale in the best-case scenario.

But Mr Cheng is a co-founder of Chinese electric car maker Nio and led Fiat’s joint venture in China before joining Foxconn. He said the success of Tesla’s massive Shanghai factory showed how quickly the electric car maker was expanding.

“I’m building another Shanghai, probably in India,” Cheng said. “If this is a Foxconn factory, that’s great, it’s the parent company and we put it in the Foxconn factory. If this is a local Indian factory and it’s more competitive, then give it to the Indian factory.”

Foxconn currently only produces a small number of electric vehicles, and its initial goal is to gain 5% of the global market by 2025. Cheng said MIH’s sales will be factored into Foxconn’s goals.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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