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iPhone maker Foxconn strikes big electric car deal

Foxconn Technology Group struck an electric-vehicle partnership in Thailand, its latest move to expand in the fast-growing industry at a time that more technology companies including Apple Inc. are looking to bulk up their automotive muscle.

The Taiwanese electronics giant and Thailand’s state-owned conglomerate PTT Pcl will collaborate on hardware and software for producing EVs, according to a statement from the companies on Monday.

The partners’ new joint venture will offer its EV platform to automotive manufacturers in Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Foxconn is broadening its push into EVs as electronics brands — its core customers — are looking to challenge traditional automakers in the market for battery-powered cars.

Thailand, a production hub for companies including Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW AG, wants to become a force in electric cars while fighting its toxic air pollution.

EVs have risen in prominence in recent months, with everyone from established automakers like Ford Motor Co. to smartphone purveyor Xiaomi Corp. making big investments in the category.

A Foxconn EV platform will be used in two light vehicles set to be introduced in the fourth quarter of this year, Chairman Young Liu said in February.

The Taiwanese company has also inked manufacturing deals with Chinese startup Byton Ltd. and U.S.-based Fisker Inc., and reached an agreement to partner with Jeep maker Stellantis NV, one of the world’s biggest automakers, on a joint venture to develop digital car cockpits.

Foxconn, which builds electronics including iPhones, is among a coterie of suppliers and assemblers set to vie for a role in the production of a potential Apple car.

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