MOUNT PLEASANT — Foxconn has chosen an assembly plant in Ohio for the initial production of electric vehicles in the U.S., a decision that keeps its Racine County complex from entering electric auto manufacturing, at least in the short-term.
Foxconn announced Thursday it is working to purchase a production and assembly plant from Lordstown Motors Corp. in Lordstown, Ohio to help the Taiwanese conglomerate build electric vehicles for the startup automaker, Fisker. Foxconn and Fisker announced in February they had come to an agreement to make the vehicles.
But the companies did not say then where those vehicles would be made, and some hoped Foxconn would use its existing Wisconsin facility – initially made to build TV screens – as the site for electric vehicle production.
The agreement with Fisker states Foxconn would build more than 250,000 of these vehicles every year, with production to begin in the 4th quarter of 2023. The vehicles would be sold in North America, Europe, China, and India.
On Thursday Foxconn said it had come into a non-binding agreement to purchase Lordstown Motors’ 6.2 million square-foot production and assembly plant in Lordstown for $230 million, according to their initial agreement.
Lordstown has been attempting to begin production of an all-electric pickup truck called the ‘Endurance’ at the facility. But it appears the company ran out of money.
“Existing automobile manufacturing facilities, infrastructure, employees, and location in Ohio with robust supply chain resources will give Foxconn speed to market that meets our customer’s needs for production by end of 2023,” according to a spokesperson.
But Foxconn says there is still potential for similar electric vehicle efforts in Racine County.
“Foxconn’s assets in Wisconsin will continue to serve as a potential location for additional investment for Foxconn’s electric vehicle growth in the United States,” the spokesperson said. The company adds that the Racine County facility will continue to be the location for “data infrastructure hardware and Information and Communication Technology production.”
Foxconn originally planned to build a Gen 10. 5 LCD facility to produce large screens in Mount Pleasant after former Gov. Scott Walker offered more than $3 billion in tax incentives. But that project was scaled back to a Gen. 6 factory to build smaller screens for phones, TVs, and tablets.
Since then, Foxconn has faced criticism for not holding up to its promise of creating 13,000 local jobs as local and state governments spend hundreds of millions of dollars to usher in what was initially seen as a possible manufacturing resurgence in the state.
Then last October, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. announced Foxconn did not qualify for the $4 billion in local and state tax incentives. The WED concluded the company did not hire enough employees or make enough investments in the Mount Pleasant facility, per the agreement the company signed with former Gov. Walker.
Foxconn contends it has hired more than 530 full-time employees and invested $750 million at the facility.
The agreement with California-based Fisker would mark Foxconn’s first foray into the production of vehicles. Foxconn is the world’s largest contract maker of electronics and a large supplier of iPhones.