Surely hope Ford or Tesla won’t sue.
You may have heard of a certain company known as “Foxconn”. They are consumer electronics contractors known for building phones designed by smartphone companies, most notably Apple. They are based in Taiwan, in Taipei.
Have you heard they are also building their own Electric Vehicle platform? About a week ago, the company has released three new electric vehicles in China, which have some very interesting names. These “Model” naming is also the same naming scheme Tesla uses.
The electric vehicles were made possible thanks to a partnership with Pinninfarina (in particular the Model E), a vehicle designing firm known for designing cars for popular automobile makers like FIAT, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Alfa-Romeo. Foxconn marketed and named the vehicles.
One model is a bus called “Model T”. This is quite interesting as, in the US and other countries, Ford owns the trademark for the “Model T” name along with the Model E, which is the reason why Tesla went for “Model 3” instead of “Model E”.
Here’s a short history lesson. The “Model T” is Ford’s most widely-produced automobile and its affordable pricing when it was first released 1908 is the main reason for this. Its design, marketing and assembly influenced all other cars in the world and has a large significance in the car industry, particularly in the US. Back then, cars are seen as status symbols only the rich can afford, but the Model T changed the game.
As for the Model E, well, Ford has not exactly built a car under this name, but has kept Tesla from using the name because “it sounds similar to Model T” hence they trademarked it. They might use this name in future models however.
According to The Verge, these models may not be available for mass production, instead they are concept vehicles, meant to showcase what Foxconn can do in their business, as well as reveal new technologies, future plans and roadmaps for their EV platform. The vehicles weren’t even built by Foxconn. Instead, they were built by another contract company named Yulun Motor which is Foxconn’s first customer for their EV platform. “Our biggest challenge is we don’t know how to make cars,” Foxconn chairman Young Liu said at the event held Monday.
However even if they humbly said that they don’t know how to make cars, the company is making some pretty big claims about their performance. The Model E for instance, can travel for up to 750 kilometers under a single charge and can go from 0-100kph in about 3 seconds. In comparison, the Bugatti Chiron Sport can go from 0-100kph in about 2.4 seconds, the Porsche 911 Turbo S (992) clocks at 2.7s and the Lamborghini Veneno Roadster clocks at 2.9s. The Model C is 1 second slower than the Model E in the same 100kph speed. The bus, interestingly named “Model T” has not been tested yet for speed clocks but has already “thousands of kilometers” worth of testing.
Foxconn sure does have great ambitions and the EV platform is their way of communicating that they want to diversify beyond consumer electronics. We sure hope for the best of the company as honestly, these are pretty cool designs. The company has even set up plans to buy a former General Motors factory from a struggling startup called Lordstown Motors worth USD 230 million (~Php 11.7 billion) and use said factory to build cars and other vehicles.