Fisker to form electric car partnership with Apple supplier Foxconn

Foxconn Technology Group will develop an electric vehicle with Fisker Inc., part of the manufacturer’s efforts to boost its automotive capabilities at a time when technology companies including its main customer Apple Inc. are looking to expand in vehicles.

The car will be built by Foxconn, targeted at multiple markets including North America, Europe, China and India, and sold under the Fisker brand, according to a joint statement from the companies Wednesday. Production is set to start in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Taiwan’s Foxconn, whose main listed arm is Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., in October introduced its first-ever EV chassis and a software platform aimed at helping automakers bring models to the market faster. This month, Hon Hai Chairman Young Liu said two light vehicles based on the Foxconn platform will be unveiled in the fourth quarter. Foxconn is also planning to help launch an electric bus around the same time.

The Taiwanese company is expected to build more than 250,000 vehicles annually for the Fisker partnership, according to the statement. Foxconn may choose to make some of those cars in the U.S., a person familiar with the matter said. The two sides said they will enter a formal agreement in the second quarter of 2021.

Fisker is the second battery-powered car venture founded by longtime auto designer Henrik Fisker, and its debut model, the Ocean electric SUV, is scheduled to start production in late 2022. Henrik Fisker’s first venture, Fisker Automotive, filed for bankruptcy in 2013.

Foxconn is the second major manufacturer Fisker has announced a partnership with since reaching a deal to go public last year. In October, the EV startup said Magna International Inc. would help it build the Ocean SUV.

In January, Foxconn signed a manufacturing deal with embattled Chinese electric-vehicle startup Byton Ltd. with the aim to start mass production of the Byton M-Byte by the first quarter of 2022. A week later, Foxconn and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. announced they are joining forces to provide production and consulting services to global automotive enterprises.

Amid reports of Apple’s car project gaining momentum, Foxconn has bulked up its automotive capabilities that could make it a major contender to make cars for its largest customer.

With development work still at an early stage, Apple will take at least half a decade to launch an autonomous electric vehicle, people with knowledge of the efforts have told Bloomberg News. That suggests the company is in no hurry to decide on potential auto-industry partners.