Categories: Green-ITInnovation

Foxconn In Talks With Wisconsin For EV Plant

iPhone maker Foxconn said it is in talks with the US state of Wisconsin about the possibility of building electric vehicles there, after withdrawing plans for a massive LCD factory project in the state.

Foxconn formed a deal with Fisker in May to assemble vehicles for the California electric car start-up. The companies did not say where those cars would be assembled, but Fisker’s chief executive named Wisconsin as a possibility.

The Taiwanese tech manufacturing giant said it has started talks with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) about making electric vehicles at the site of the cancelled LCD factory, which lies mostly empty.

Foxconn chairman Young Liu previously said in March that he would decide between sites in Mexico and Wisconsin by 1 July.

Fisker’s Ocean SUV. Image credit: Fisker

EV factory

In April Foxconn and the WEDC agreed to a far smaller tax subsidy package for the empty factory site that reflected the cancellation of the LCD project.

“As part of the site selection process, Foxconn and Fisker have engaged with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to discuss plans for electric vehicle manufacturing,” Foxconn said in a statement.

Under the May framework agreement Foxconn and Fisker have said they plan to jointly build a low-cost electric sedan, known as Project PEAR, or “Personal Electric Automotive Revolution”.

Foxconn broke ground on the Wisconsin facility in 2018 and sait it would invest $10 billion (£7.2bn) and build a 20 million-square-foot factory to produce cutting-edge LCD panels.

‘Eighth wonder of the world’

At the time the project was hailed by then-President Donald Trump as the “eighth wonder of the world”, creating 13,000 jobs.

In exchange Foxconn was to receive $4bn in tax credits and other incentives from state and local governments. The local Mount Pleasant government demolished neighbourhoods to clear land for the proposed factory.

To date Foxconn has invested 3 percent of the promised $10bn and has constructed a 1 million-square-foot facility. It recently agreed to reclassify the building as a storage facility in official documents.

The WEDC said its policy is not to comment on business discussions until a contract is executed.

Start-up deals

Foxconn has electric vehicle contracts with start-ups such as Fisker and China’s Byton, and is in discussions with Stellantis’ Fiat Chrysler unit and Chinese auto maker Geely.

Fisker and Foxconn have said they plan to start production on their electric vehicle by the end of 2023.

Fisker’s first vehicle, the Ocean SUV, is to go into production in Nocember 2022, and is to be built in Austria by automotive supplier Magna.

Fisker said in May that Wisconsin was one of four options in the US for an electric car plant.

Foxconn aims to provide components or services for 10 percent of the world’s electric vehicles by 2025 to 2027, potentially bypassing established car makers and giving tech companies direct access to the vehicle market.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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