By Yimou Lee
TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan tech giant Foxconn unveiled its first three electric vehicle prototypes on Monday, underscoring ambitious plans to diversify away from its role of building consumer electronics for Apple Inc and other tech firms.
The vehicles – an SUV, a sedan and a bus – were made by Foxtron, a joint venture between Foxconn and Taiwanese car maker Yulon Motor Co Ltd.
Foxtron Vice Chairman Tso Chi-sen told reporters that electric vehicles would be worth a trillion Taiwan dollars to Foxconn in five years time – a figure equivalent to around $35 billion.
Foxconn, formally called Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, aims become a major player in the global EV market and has clinched deals with U.S. startup Fisker Inc and Thailand’s energy group PTT PCL.
“Hon Hai is ready and no longer the new kid in town,” Foxconn Chairman Liu Young-way told the event timed to mark the birthday of the company’s billionaire founder Terry Gou.
Gou drove the sedan, which was jointly developed with Italian design firm Pininfarina, onto the stage to the tune of “Happy Birthday”.
The sedan will be sold by an unspecified carmaker outside Taiwan in the coming years, while the SUV will be sold under one of Yulon’s brands and is scheduled to hit the market in Taiwan in 2023.
The bus, which will carry a Foxtron badge, will start running in several cities in southern Taiwan next year in a partnership with a local transportation service provider.
Foxconn this month bought a factory from U.S. startup Lordstown Motors Corp to make electric cars. In August it bought a chip plant in Taiwan in a move to supply future demand for auto chips.
Foxconn has also set a target to provide components or services for 10% of the world’s EVs by between 2025 and 2027.
($1 = 27.9880 Taiwan dollars)
(Reporting by Yimou Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)