Designed by an Italian icon, conceived in China, and built in America.
Apple has been struggling to get a car off the ground for at least a decade, but the process has gone much smoother for the company that actually builds its products in China (Foxconn). The first video of its small hatchback, called the Model B, recently hit YouTube via Pininfarina.
The Hon Hai Technology Group, known as Foxconn globally, started an automotive arm known as Foxtron.
Foxtron created an open-source EV platform, which it showcased to the world last year. It built the Model E high-end sedan, and an SUV called the Model C. The naming structure tells you everything you need to know about who it's targeting.
Foxtron has yet to put a car into production, but it has everything it needs to be competitive in the USA. Its parent company owns an assembly plant in Ohio, which recently came to the rescue of the embattled Lordstown EV truck.
But the secret to its success will likely come from the open-source MiH electric car platform. Foxconn is open to partnerships, big or small. It has an ongoing venture with Stellantis to improve the in-vehicle user experience and provided the basis for the first-ever African-built EV.
It's essentially a one-stop shop for anyone who wants to build an EV without wanting to spend vast amounts of money on an EV platform, design, quality control, or user interface.
But there's still some money to be made by building its own cars, and a cheap entry-level EV is just what the market needs right now. For now, the Model B is a concept, but as Chevrolet pointed out earlier this year, the market for a $30,000 EV is extremely dry. The average cost of a new EV is roughly $66,000, and the price needs to come down to at least half that to get people interested.
According to Autocar, who sat down with Foxconn CEO, Yang-Wei Liu, the US plant can build up to 500,000 vehicles. The Model E is near the end of its development, and Model C will likely follow shortly after.
The Model B will likely be ready in 2024 when Foxtron plans to start producing cars on a large scale at its American plant.
Foxtron did not provide mechanical details for the Model B, but we know the Model E's dual-motor layout produces up to 750 horsepower. The MiH electric car platform is highly adaptable and can be used for front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive, and all-wheel-drive cars. Like the Chevrolet Equinox, we see several models being offered.
Having a famous design house like Pininfarina design the exterior was a smart move. It instantly adds more credibility to a car. While the Model B we see in the video is obviously not production ready, we hope some of the funkier design elements make it all the way through.