Foxconn, Lordstown

Foxconn-Led Consortium Plans Mahoning Valley EV Innovation Hub

LAS VEGAS –A new initiative led by Foxconn plans to establish an Innovation Hub near the tech company’s electric-vehicle manufacturing plant in Lordstown, officials announced Thursday during the CES 2023 technology expo.

Foxconn’s MIH Consortium said its Innovation Hub would bring together global supply-chain partners to share expertise and collaborate on electric vehicle and mobility projects, as well as new technologies for automakers.

“This effort aims to accelerate EV innovation and revitalize American manufacturing,” the consortium said in a press release. “By leveraging Foxconn’s resources and infrastructure in the United States, MIH is creating an EV ecosystem that spans the entire development process.”

Foxconn, the largest tech company of its kind in the world, purchased Lordstown Motors’ six-million-square-foot auto manufacturing plant in May for $230 million. The plant served as a General Motors Co. assembly plant for more than 50 years.

Since the purchase, Foxconn has signed contract manufacturing-agreements with Lordstown Motors and Monarch Tractor.  Lordstown Motors is now in limited production of its all-electric Endurance pickup, while Foxconn will begin manufacturing Monarch’s MK-V Series, a driverless option electric tractor.

It has also signed a framework agreement with Fisker Inc. to produce the Fisker Pear EV, and recently inked a memorandum of understanding with INDI EV to manufacture a prototype of its electric vehicle.

MIH brings together automakers such as Lordstown Motors, INDI EV, and Monarch Tractor to showcase a range of EV applications, including commercial fleets, consumer vehicle with entertainment and gaming, and agricultural innovation, the consortium said.

“MIH is not only a pioneer in the open EV platform, but also an expert in the automotive supply chain,” said Jack Cheng, CEO of MIH Consortium, n an email. “There are many emerging EV brands in the US market that need the support of diverse supply chain partners. MIH can bring together top partners from around the world, allowing OEMs to communicate directly and break the hierarchical model of the traditional automotive industry. This will help accelerate the development and mass production of new EVs.”

The Midwest plays a significant role in the global automotive industry, the consortium said, noting the region’s experienced workforce and automotive supply chain companies will bring new opportunities for the U.S. auto industry.

The consortium consists of more than 2,400 companies that seek to collaborate in order to expedite product development cycles, design and optimize the supply chain, said Lordstown Motors President and CEO Edward Hightower. The program also encourages sharing components and systems to reduce costs, he said.

The MIH Consortium hosted a press conference Thursday at CES 2023, where Lordstown Motors displayed its new all-electric Endurance pickup truck.  Hightower was among those delivering remarks.

As part of a separate initiative, Foxconn and Youngstown State University signed a memorandum of understanding in November to create an EV training center as part of Foxconn’s Mahoning Valley investments.

Foxconn has two factories in the United States. Its Lordstown plant primarily focuses on manufacturing the Lordstown Motors Endurance and other vehicles.

Another plant in Wisconsin focuses on information and communications technology products and could be used as a development hub for the EV industry in the future.

“These two factories are located along an automotive corridor that spans several states in the Midwest, which will help drive the development of the entire supply chain,” Cheng said. “By leveraging the resources of Foxconn, the MIH will be able to greatly deepen and broaden its partnerships in the North American ecosystem.”

MIH also sees significant potential in the B2B/B2B2C market in working with fleet operators and mobility service companies in areas such as delivery, logistics, and more, the consortium said.

The first step in this effort, announced at MIH Demo Day in November 2022, is to create a three-seat vehicle called Project X, followed by the launch of six-seat and nine-seat models for the North American market, according to the press release.

MIH Consortium said it has partnered with several companies to showcase its latest technology. These partners include TomTom, a leading mapping and navigation company; VicOne, a company specializing in vehicle cybersecurity; Foxconn Industrial Internet, a provider of smart manufacturing and industrial internet solutions; GIS, which focuses on touch technology; and Tier IV, a leader in autonomous driving.

These companies are actively pursuing the significant business opportunities in the North American EV market, the consortium said.

Pictured at top: Jack Cheng, CEO of MIH Consortium and Edward Hightower, president and CEO of Lordstown Motors.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.