Foxconn: the stealth bomber of electric vehicle makers that most won’t see coming (part 3)


This article is part of a series. You can find part 1 here and part 2 here.

See through stealth

While an American president seemed to think stealth planes are really invisible, this is not really the case. Sure, they can be somewhat invisible to radar, but if you see one in the hangar or see it flying above you, it will be perfectly visible to the human eye. Same the most advanced and flying stealth drones can be seen if someone looks closely enough.

Let’s take a closer look at Foxtron’s stealth bomber and see what there is to see.

The surface of the iceberg would be Foxconn’s partnership with Yulon. Foxconn owns 51% of their Foxtron joint venture. While Foxconn has extensive experience in manufacturing, supply chains, government relations, and forced labor, Yulon has automotive experience.

Like Foxconn, Yulon started building things designed by other companies. He started out by building licensed copies of Willys Jeeps. Then they teamed up with Nissan to build copies of its cars, renamed with its own badge. Over the years, she also worked on assembling vehicles from various other manufacturers using demountable kits, but she did not rename any of them. Decades of building other people’s designs eventually led them to design their own vehicles in the 1990s and again from 2009 to today.

These two companies were able to move from the partnership to producing three prototypes in one year, with the reveal of all three prototypes last month at Tech Day Hon Hai (Foxconn).

I know it’s a 5 hour video, but don’t worry if you don’t have time to watch it all. I watched it, so you don’t really have to.

What Foxtron actually announced last month

First of all, it was clear from the start that the prototypes were not the typical prototypes or concept cars of the automotive industry. They were “benchmark prototypes” meant not for the company itself to put into production, but to show what Foxtron can do.

Everyone knows that Foxconn and Yulon can design and build cars. This ability has never been questioned. The real thing they had to prove was that they could work together to design and build not only EVs, but also use a common platform to build EVs that are very different from each other. The creation of a luxury sedan, crossover and bus, all on the same platform, allowed them to prove it.

Foxtron intends to sell these vehicles from the next 2-3 years in Taiwan, but that’s only a very small part of the story here.

If you go to Foxtron’s website, it looks nothing like Tesla’s website. You don’t see a single car on sale, pre-orders for upcoming models, or anything like that. Instead, you will find this:

The main thing she sells is her work, not her products. From blueprints, to styling, to engineering, to prototyping, to development, to production, it is available for all or part of these stages. In theory, you could work with the company to design a new vehicle on their platform and have the company produce a finished product that you will sell to customers.

If you don’t want to use Foxtron for the whole process, they are also happy to sell you key components that you can use in a vehicle of your own design, skateboards, and other partial vehicle solutions.

If that was the whole story (it isn’t), that alone would play into Foxconn’s strengths. It has proven to be very adept not only in manufacturing, but also in solving new manufacturing problems and designing for manufacturing. Any gaps in their general manufacturing knowledge that do not apply to the automotive world are filled by Yulon’s experience both in the automotive industry and in building their own vehicles.

Plus, he’s used to working in low-margin industries (and the automotive world is a low-margin industry). Many other companies that are getting into electric cars have loaded up with high expectations, only to find the money just isn’t there like they thought it was. Foxconn has lived in this trench for decades and probably watches companies go through “production hell” like the guy from the “Mmmm. First time? “Same. The rulers would probably feel like a fish out of water if the profits got too good.

But, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

An open platform and an open alliance to contribute

No one should doubt Foxtron’s ability to build supply chains. The two parent companies (Foxconn and Yulon) would have vanished decades ago if they couldn’t build supply chains to feed their factories and the brand’s customers to buy what comes out of them. This is not a problem at all.

But, it has decided to make it easier for its customers to create a customized supply chain in concert with Foxtron, and the company makes it easier for potential suppliers to join these supply chains through open platforms and an alliance. opened. The MIH consortium manages the Open EV Alliance, and anyone can join. Yes, literally anyone. They even let me join (I could potentially help a non-English speaking company improve their marketing, as I speak a little Mandarin).

This not only makes everyone’s job easier and helps everyone get involved in good business relationship with other companies, but also makes sure everyone has a good working relationship as they are contributing to the platform and other efforts that companies are making in the electric vehicle market.

Foxtron could really become a dominant player

When you consider the history of Foxconn and Yulon, their plans to become a major player in the electric vehicle market does not seem so unrealistic.

History shows that they not only have the strengths to play in the market, but also the experience of operating in austere conditions. Even though there isn’t a lot of profit per unit to be made, they know how to keep a business lean and efficient to do better than break even. More importantly, their ability to build business relationships is going to be a big deal. Finding companies to sell EVs to the end customer and take care of most or all of the rest allows them to focus on the essentials and do things the way they always do.

Many automakers just aren’t doing much with electric vehicles and will have a LOT of catching up work to do over the next decade. The prospect of being able to do what Apple and Dell did, and hire a lot of it, will help the industry transition faster as it hits tipping points, prevent some companies from doing bankruptcy and will put Foxtron in a very good position.

By 2035 or so, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the company doing what it does now in the electronics industry, becoming a family business with no familiar name – also taking over your garage this time around.

Image presented by the United States Air Force (public domain).

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