Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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Foxconn continues EV push with electric tractor contract at Lordstown

Electronic device manufacturer Foxconn has signed a contract to build autonomous electric tractors for a California startup.

Foxconn, which assembles iPhones, iPads and Kindles, will build the vehicle for Monarch Tractor of Livermore, Calif., the companies said Tuesday.

Monarch has raised $81 million in funding. Its investors include VST Tillers, CNH Industrial, Musashi Seimitsu Industry, Astanor Ventures, At One Ventures, Trimble Ventures and MUUS.

Foxconn will build the tractor at the former General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio. It acquired the plant in May for $230 million from the struggling Lordstown Motors electric pickup startup. Monarch expects production to begin in the first quarter of 2023.

“Creating the industry’s most advanced tractor demands a manufacturing partner with the experience to quickly scale and execute with precision,” Praveen Penmetsa, CEO of Monarch Tractor, said in a news release.

The partnership continues a trend for Hon Hai Technology Group, which trades as Foxconn, as it dives into the electric vehicle market.

It sees this deal as a step into contract manufacturing of advanced technology and EVs, a role it fulfills for consumer electronics.

“This partnership reflects Foxconn’s growing center of gravity for autonomous electric vehicle production and the potential that can emerge from forward-thinking collaborations,” said Young Liu, Hon Hai Technology Group chairman.

Foxconn’s strong ties to Apple may play into its interest in EV assembly. Apple has worked on a secretive electric and autonomous vehicle project, known as Project Titan, since 2014 and has accelerated its development in recent years.

Apple has been recruiting automotive executives, hiring Ford Motor Co.’s Desi Ujkashevic in May. Previous hires included BMW’s and Canoo’s Ulrich Kranz and Tesla’s Stuart Bowers.

The Foxconn contract is one of many recent moves for Monarch. In July, the company opened its first office in India and partnered with Indian artificial intelligence startup Einsite in a play to take advantage of the region’s agriculture sector.

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