Taiwan-based smartphone manufacturing giant Foxconn and national Thailand oil supplier PTT PLC are moving forward with an agreement to start an electric vehicle manufacturing facility in Thailand. The facility is expected to begin rolling out vehicles by 2023. Foxconn had previously reported plans to begin building factories in both Thailand and the U.S. next year.
Foxconn and PTT signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on EV production in June, with PTT owning 60% of the joint venture and Foxconn owning the remaining 40%. The initial production capacity of the Thailand facility will be around 50,000 units, which Foxconn says will increase three-fold by 2030. The Thailand plant officially marks Foxconn as an automaker in its own right, but the company is also working with EV maker Fisker on a U.S. manufacturing plant, which should also start production in 2023. The two companies signed a joint agreement, called Project PEAR, in May.
“Thailand is fairly new in terms of supply and demand with limited manufacturers producing in the country,” said Bakar Sadik Agwan, senior automotive analyst at GlobalData, a data and analytics consulting company, in a statement. “With conducive policies and heritage in auto manufacturing, Thailand offers much more value to Foxconn compared to other markets. The company also has a manufacturing partnership in China with Byton, but it is reportedly on hold now. While China may be the largest EV market, it faces overcapacity issues due to the EV market being fragmented, which will affect many automakers’ ability to make enough margin.”
Thailand’s government has become a major supporter of Foxconn because it hopes to be a future “EV hub” and increase its EV share in total capacity to 30% by 2030 by incentivizing local production.