iPhone builder Foxconn is hanging a huge electric car project in front of Wisconsin, burning state promises from a multi-billion dollar LCD plant that never happened. The Taiwanese conglomerate has also already fallen behind its own arbitrary deadline in choosing the site to build the plant.
The Taiwanese conglomerate announced Friday that it began negotiations with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to conclude an EV with California startup Fisker Inc. in a mostly empty area in the state. This is because President Young Liu said in March he wanted to complete the construction of EV in Mexico or Wisconsin by July 1, and Foxconn and WEDC agreed on a much smaller tax support package in April, reflecting the failure of the LCD project.
Why did Foxconn sign a new deal with the WEDC in April, when it knew it had EV targets in March, to announce a new negotiation with the state in July? Well, because that’s how they go with Foxconn in Wisconsin.
“As part of the site selection process, Foxconn and Fisker have discussed with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to discuss electric vehicle manufacturing plans,” Foxconn said in a statement. Foxconn and Fisker Inc. first announced its partnership in February and have since said they plan to build an affordable electric sedan, currently called Project PEAR, which means the “personal electric car revolution.” Two companies signed framework agreement in May.
If Foxconn eventually made progress in trying to build electric cars in Wisconsin, it would be another huge promise to the state and the workforce that the company has already burned heavily. Foxconn broke into a Wisconsin facility in 2018 and said it would invest $ 10 billion and build a 20 million-square-foot plant that would pump LCD panels. Former President Donald Trump said “the eighth wonder of the world.” The whole effort was to create 13,000 jobs. In return, the company planned to receive $ 4 billion in tax credits and other incentives from state and local governments. Mount Pleasant local government demolished entire neighborhoods to clear the land of the proposed mill.
But the project has been slow ever since. Foxconn struggled to achieve the most basic hiring goals. It has invested only 3 percent of its promised $ 10 billion, and the property’s largest permanent arrangement is just a million square feet. The company recently agreed to reclassify the building as warehouses in official documents, and in April Foxconn and WEDC agreed amend the agreement to meet current, much smaller targets.
WEDC spokesman David Callender said Limit in an email that the agency’s policy is “not to comment on discussions it may or may not have with the company if the contract is not fulfilled”. The Agency also mentioned similar grounds when rejecting the request for a public register Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discussions with Foxconn and Fisker Inc. the point of sale announced on Friday.
Foxconn has spent the last year and a half trading in the EV world. It has agreements with startups that have not yet taken the car into production, such as Fisker Inc. and Byton, a Chinese startup owned by state-owned First Automotive Works. The conglomerate has also discussed the manufacture of electric cars with incumbents such as Stellantis (a company formed after the recent merger of Fiat Chrysler and the French PSA group) and China’s largest private automaker, Geely. The Geely deal could also lead to Foxconn’s operations with Faraday Future (A Chinese automaker recently negotiated a stake in a California startup). Foxconn even recently announced its own electric car platform, which it wants to sell to other automakers, and is working with Taiwanese Gogoro on electric kickboards and battery technology.
Liu, who took over the Wisconsin project after Foxconn founder Terry Gou left the company, said in March that he “needs[s] find the right product for the place. “It’s a search that has been going on for over a year, as Foxconn has considered making everything from coffee robots that fans at the facility. Still, Liu said at the time that Foxconn did not want to build electric vehicles at this location. “Whether it’s Wisconsin or Mexico, it’s not political, it’s business from my perspective,” he said in March.
Fisker Inc. and Foxconn have said they plan to start production with EV by the end of 2023. 2022. It will be built in Austria by automotive supplier Magna.