Foxconn Technology Group and Fisker Inc., a California car maker, are talking with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. about building electric vehicles in the state, Foxconn confirmed Thursday.
“As part of the site selection process, Foxconn and Fisker have engaged with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to discuss plans for electric vehicle manufacturing,” Foxconn said in a statement. “Foxconn and Fisker look forward to discussions with the WEDC.”
Foxconn and Fisker announced a formal partnership in May for Fisker’s Project PEAR. The two companies plan to build parts for electric vehicles, particularly chipsets and semiconductors.
In February, Foxconn and Fisker signed a memorandum of understanding to build their products in North America. Since that announcement, many have speculated that work would take place at Foxconn’s facility in Mount Pleasant.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has submitted public records request to the WEDC for documents related to conversations the department has held with Fisker. That request was denied.
“Public disclosure of records relating to pending or potential opportunities impedes WEDC’s ability to productively negotiate with companies about potential projects that will create jobs, increase investment in the state and generate additional state revenue for state and local governments,” WEDC said in a June 29 letter.
“Such disclosures could hamper WEDC’s efforts to attract new businesses to the state or negotiate with existing companies seeking to expand their operations in Wisconsin, and could impede economic development in the state, to the detriment of Wisconsin and its citizens.”
No deal between Fisker and the WEDC has been announced.
Since coming to Wisconsin in 2018, Foxconn has struggled to produce products at its facility in Mount Pleasant. Originally, Foxconn said it would produce large LCD screens. Then the facility was scaled back to a factory for smaller screens for TVs, smartphones and tablets. But those plans never materialized.
Then Foxconn was going to build robotic coffee kiosks through a partnership with coffee company Briggo, but that also fell through.
During the pandemic Foxconn had an agreement with Medtronic to build ventilators, but as with the other deals, it never came to fruition.
In April, Foxconn and the WEDC announced a new agreement that gave Foxconn a broader range of subjects to be eligible for tax credits. In exchange, the company agreed to a deal that would mean it could receive up to $80 million in jobs and capital investment tax credits if it could produce up to 1,450 jobs in the state.
The original deal in 2017 was worth up to $2.85 billion of tax credits and Foxconn planned at the time to create up to 13,000 jobs. The new deal illustrates a major change in expectations from the state on the Foxconn project.
No deal involving Fisker and the WEDC has been announced. It’s possible the two parties could be talking and it may not result in any deal of any kind.