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The shift towards electric vehicles (EVs) has been vividly evident in the past decade. Car companies had been working on clean energy long before Elon Musk from Tesla brought attention to it. But in the recent past, every tech company, be it the phone developers or chipmaker Foxconn, has been trying to put their own model on the road.
Last week, the Taiwanese electronics giant announced last week that it is taking a gamble on the EV business.
Diversification opportunities are ample for Foxconn and the company is going all-in on cars next. The Taiwanese company has already set up fabs and plans further expansion through several automotive production sites across the globe — including India.
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The Desi Connection
India boasts millions of EV owners, with motorbikes, scooters, and rickshaws constituting over 90% of the automotives. As per a Bloomberg report, the sales rose to 75,000 in the nine months through September — more than double the volume during the same period in 2022.
A report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) revealed that in 2022, more than half of India’s three-wheeler registrations were electric-powered.
One of the reasons for the company to embark on an affair with India can be the rise in demand for passenger EVs in the country.
The surge in the EV market can be attributed, in part, to a government initiative, a $1.3 billion scheme aimed at prompting EV manufacturing within the country while offering discounts to customers. Moreover, charging points across the nation have increased tenfold, reported Elizabeth Connolly, an analyst specializing in energy technology and transport at the IEA.
As Foxconn charts a course to become an assembler of electricity powered vehicles in India, it has long been indecisive about its relationship with India. The chipmaker company in India has a track record of waging bid wars, misleading state governments and denying deals after governments officially announcing a deal with the chip company.
The second reason for Foxconn to shift from making cars to iPhones is the dip in market for smartphones in recent years. It seems that the company plans to diversify its business.
Similar to Foxconn, Apple has also been building an autonomous EV — dubbed Titan — for almost a decade which finally may be on the way. But thanks to its founder Steve Jobs, the company has long maintained its mysterious personality. Hence, no information whatsoever about the project has made it to mainstream media yet.
The last insider information on the internet dates back to almost a year ago which is highly unlikely for similar significant projects in limbo. Interestingly, in a little over two decades, Apple has applied for 248 car-related patents and even hired Lamborghini’s top executive, Luigi Taraborrelli, to help them design their product in the car space.
While Apple has been regularly launching refreshed versions of its slate products, the company’s car project has an uncertain future. Prominent Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple’s car plans have “lost all visibility,” and the Cupertino-based tech company must look at alternate strategies to make headways into a highly competitive automotive space.
As the single-largest manufacturer of electronics ambitiously forges in the market, news from Apple should also be expected some time soon. But with Foxconn’s leap forward in the EV sector, there are a lot of ‘ifs’ involved. Even though the Apple-Foxconn relationship has long stood the tides of the tech industry, Foxconn has a registered history of making plans and backing out at the last moment.
“Foxconn has the reputation for being one of the most opaque companies in an opaque world,” Lawrence Tabak, the author of ‘Foxconned: Imaginary Jobs, Bulldozed Homes, and the Sacking of Local Government’ described Foxconn’s habit of backing out of deals. “It is very normal for them to make stagey announcements that involve politicians, business executives, pomp, and circumstance purely based on speculation,” Tabak added.
As of now, all that the stakeholders can do is to keep their fingers crossed and hope it does not turn out to be one of the company’s usual false promises to steer the electronic wheel.