Following the news that Tesla has selected Nevada as the location for the battery Gigafactory, Apple iPhone manufacturer Foxconn has announced it is building a battery factory of its own.
The Taiwanese electronics company hopes to become a major player in the Chinese electric car market, and will invest about $814 million in the northern province of Shanxi, reports Bloomberg. It already has two factories there, one that makes robots and the other that assembles smartphones, but Foxconn is looking to expand its business operations. Apparently they want to be known as more than just the company with suicide safety nets, deplorable work conditions, and of course building of the iPhone.
Foxconn and BYD recently reached a deal to start an EV rental car business, and back in June Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou was quoted as saying that he wants to help get electric car prices down to just $15,000. That would require a massive cut to the cost of battery packs, on par with what Elon Musk hopes to achieve with the Gigafactory. Such an achievement won’t be easy, and though $812 million isn’t pocket change, it’s a lot less than the up-to $6 billion the Gigafactory will cost.
Speaking of Musk, the Tesla and Space X CEO has mentioned Foxconn by name before, and the two have reportedly been in talks over expanding their relationship. Foxconn currently builds a few minor components for the Tesla Model S, though Panasonic is the company went to for its $7 billion dollar battery deal. China’s Wanxiang is also shaping up to be a major player in the battery market, having scooped up A123 Systems and Fisker Automotive in the past few years as part of a grand plan to build electric cars.
With Musk already mentioning the possibility of a Tesla factory in China itself though, there might just be room for Foxconn’s batteries in Tesla EVs. And if not? There’s always BYD or one of the many other domestic and foreign automakers bringing electric cars to China.