Forward Faster: Electric Vehicle Manufacturing with Michael Repetto

Keywords: electric vehicles, EV market, vehicles, investable number, production numbers, international investment

Michael Repetto, Senior Director of the Project Management Office at Foxconn EV Systems, discusses the company’s role as a contract manufacturer in the electric vehicle (EV) industry.

There are over 233 hybrid and EV manufacturers in the United States. Starting from scratch to manufacture EVs is often out of reach for startups and mid-level companies who are just beginning to plant their flag on the field. Repetto highlights Foxconn’s unique ability as a contract manufacturer to help companies to bring their products to production by leveraging their spacious facility, equipment, and talented workforce. Not only does Foxconn help its customers bring products to market, but it also offers additional services such as engineering support and strategic sourcing of components – part of the advantage produced by contract manufacturers like Foxconn.

Repetto touches on the importance of partnerships and collaborations for success in the EV market. As a new board member at BRITE, he expresses his excitement about Foxconn’s partnership with BRITE and working together to support the EV ecosystem.

Connect with Michael

Learn more about Foxconn

Learn more about BRITE

Transcript:
00:31

Rick Stockburger
Welcome to this week’s edition of BRITElights. I’m Rick Stockburger, president and CEO of BRITE, and we are so excited about today’s know. For the third time in a row, third week in a row, we have Randy Cole as our co host. We’re talking about electric vehicles for electric vehicle month. And Randy, I am so excited for today’s guest, but let’s get into your deep dive already. Let’s just jump.


00:55

Randy Cole
Thanks. Know I’m excited. One of the reasons I’m excited is as a former utility executive, as director of the Ohio Turnpike, leader of technology startups, it seems like evs in this current transformation to electrification is something I’ve spent my whole career getting ready for, and yet I wasn’t getting ready for it. So maybe someone else or a higher power had its hand or his hand in how all this has come together. But thank you for letting me lead emobility at BRITE. Thank you for letting me be your co host this month during EV month at BRITE. Our emobility strategy has three pillars, infrastructure, vehicles, and services, and we’re covering all of those.


01:38

Randy Cole
So I really ask anybody who’s listening today and wants to learn more and get the full view of the EV market, listen to all three podcasts we’ve done this month because it’s all covered. And today we’re going to focus on vehicles, which it’s what getting the most attention. And there’s a reason, Rick. There’s a reason, right?


01:59

Randy Cole
Market size was $24 billion for EV sales in 2020.


02:05

Rick Stockburger
That sounds like it’s investable. That’s an investable number.


02:08

Randy Cole
It’s pretty investable. But listen, if you’re investing now for what’s coming next, it’s projected to be $137,000,000,000 by 2030. Wow. I think that’s the kind of X’s most investors like to see and hear about.


02:23

Rick Stockburger
Yeah.


02:24

Randy Cole
Cox Automotive, which is a very reliable and independent source, said over 1.2 million evs were sold last year in 2023. That’s a lot, right? Like, that’s not a small part. There are only 17 million total cars sold, vehicles sold in the US each year. So it’s creeping up, that’s 10% of the market share and again, growing quickly over the next decade.


02:47

Rick Stockburger
However, I hate to interrupt you real quick, but I know last, was it late last year we hit 5% of all new auto sales, I think were electric vehicles, which is a trend that we’ve seen in other countries that going from five to 25% just happens like that, usually within, what, three to seven years? I think that’s exactly right.


03:11

Randy Cole
And it may not be the hockey stick or some kind of crazy explosion people have talked about, but Rick, those are real numbers. And again, to what’s investable, we’re talking about production numbers that need to keep pace with that market appetite for it. And there are over 230. You ready for this? I don’t think you know this one, Rick. There are over 233 hybrid and ev manufacturers in the United States. We all think about international investment, the big three, what’s happening. But between startups, mid level companies, people getting into this marketplace, that’s an awful lot of manufacturers. And the reason that’s a big deal is do you contract manufacturer, do you find somebody who can build your vehicle the right way, or do you start from ground zero? And I think when you start from scratch, Greenfield or brownfield.


04:05

Randy Cole
Tesla spent 5 billion in Nevada and they’re going to produce 500,000 vehicles.


04:11

Rick Stockburger
Rivian spent not even just the money. Their CEO was sleeping on the shop floor trying to get the production line up and running. It wasn’t a small financial or personal investment.


04:25

Randy Cole
No. The time, the money, the effort. You have federal regulations. You have to meet safety. You’ve got design issues, customer issues. There are things that manufacturers or people with a great idea that next great vehicle have in mind the idea of running a plant, getting a plant set up. It’s not easy. Rivian is a new member to the market, right? Over $5 billion to produce a quarter million vehicles in Illinois because they had to build their own plant. And I think what’s exciting about Foxconn and the guests we have today is talking. Know, Rick, we talk all the time at BRITE. We give our member companies an unfair advantage in the market, right? We help them get there faster.


05:05

Randy Cole
I don’t know that Foxconn produces any kind of unfair advantage, but I know they produce an advantage because they have the understanding, the space, the equipment, the people to get somebody to get a new product to market faster. And that’s going to be exciting to talk about today.


05:22

Rick Stockburger
Yeah, I’m so excited forward. Faster is something that we talk about at BRITE all the time with our startups. And I’m glad you painted that correlation between kind of what Boxcon EV system is doing and forward faster. That’s what it’s all about, right? How do you get your product to market faster? So we are so excited today to welcome a, one of the newest BRITE board members. So we’re very excited to have Mr. Repetto on our board here at BRITE. But not only that, but the senior director for project management office at Foxconn Ev System. Welcome to the stage, Mike Rappetto.


06:00

Mike Repetto
Hello, gentlemen. Nice to join you. Very excited to talk today.


06:04

Rick Stockburger
Well, we’re excited to have you, Mike. And it’s been awesome just seeing kind of the evolution over the last couple of years at, you know, when you came into the plan and where you are today and all the amazing things that happened. But I kind of want to step back a little bit and talk more about Mike Propetta as somebody I’ve spent some time in a car with in the, I think one of the things that you said to me that was so cool, and I think it’s something that needs to be put out in general, is like you’re a car guy, right?


06:38

Rick Stockburger
When you tell me about the smell of the race cars in that space and going to the big races and the loudness of the engines and all that, you have an automotive background, and so you’re a person that’s built things and cares about the space. And now you’re at the forefront of electric vehicles. And so I’m so excited to have you here today, but really, I want.


07:03

Randy Cole
To ask this first question.


07:05

Rick Stockburger
What excites you about this ev revolution and what’s going on?


07:10

Mike Repetto
Well, thank you for the introduction, Rick, and to give you just a little color on how much of a car guy I am. My father was a high school teacher, but a part time auto mechanic, and he was very much into racing. He raced cars himself. I’ve done some high performance driving instructing, and I’ve been to a lot of races around the world, Formula one, Indycar. So it’s very much in my blood. And my dad was a GM guy, so he always bought General Motors products. And considering the plant in which I sit today, that’s really interesting. So what’s exciting for us here is Foxconn is a contract manufacturer. I’ve been around for 50 years, and we’re doing something different now. In addition to what we’ve done in the past, we’re known for making the iPhone, the iPad, electronic modules, ICT business.


08:02

Mike Repetto
But now, about three years ago, we’ve gotten into electric vehicles as a contract manufacturer. So we’re taking that into this space. What’s exciting is we can help companies with good ideas, and Randy already kind of mentioned that, get their great product and idea into production. This is a very capital intensive business. And the OEMs Detroit three have been in business for 100 years. But it didn’t happen overnight. Tesla didn’t happen overnight. But we can help those companies get into production because we have a big facility and with lots of equipment and great talent here, and that’s really exciting to help them do that.


08:46

Rick Stockburger
Yeah, I think it’s amazing. And I know we’ll get into the business model and all of that later and how you guys are doing it. But for me, as a startup guy, giving access to new ideas, and I know you guys are obviously focused on later stage startups and oems and just being able to do that, but man, when we talk about that, it really fires me up to see a company that’s looking forward like that and what the opportunities of the future can be and how you can get them there now. It’s so cool from that standpoint. So we’re really excited about Foxconn EV system, what you’re doing here in the Voltage Valley where we’re headquartered, but also the impacts that you’re going to have for the rest of the world.


09:30

Rick Stockburger
Foxconn is a taiwanese company and does amazing work there, and that affects the entire rest of the world. And I think Foxconn EV system can do the same thing from right here in Lordstown, Ohio. So with all of that said, what scares you about the EV market?


09:47

Mike Repetto
Well, over the last year, what’s happening with the EV industry? The growth is slowing. It’s not slowing just here in America, but it’s slowing elsewhere. There’s still growth, but the curve is becoming a little bit flatter. So that scares us a little bit. But I think that also gives us opportunity because some of the larger oems are talking to us now. And even there’s a recent Wall Street Journal article that referenced just that. They’re pulling back on their investments a bit in evs. They’re shifting course a little bit towards back to hybrids, General Motors being one of them. And I think what’s going to happen is, and we already know it, some of those companies are going to talk to us and to maybe hedge their bets a little bit.


10:38

Mike Repetto
And we can do that as a contract manufacturer, and I think we can partner together to get their great products into production as well. It’s scary. It might mean that the path forward is going to be a little bit slower, but it’s also giving us some other opportunities as well.


10:54

Rick Stockburger
Yeah, well, also just having the capitalization of box gone behind you, I think it’s extremely important to be able to weather any kind of fluctuation in the market. But I also think it’s so important too, to just think through, like when there’s fluctuation in the market, when there’s uncertainty, there’s going to be winners and there’s going to be losers. And the people that invest are generally the ones that are the winners, the people that are looking forward, not the ones that are pulling back. And those are the folks that make it through it. I was just listening to a podcast recently where they were talking about just showing up and just being there and being consistent, not quitting. And I think that’s something that I’m really excited about.


11:37

Rick Stockburger
The partnership and what Foxconn is doing is like, you guys are forward, you’re moving forward, and you’re doing great work. So Mike, I 80 runs right through this community. Tell me a little bit about your history with the Ohio Turnpike. Well, first, Randy, do you have any history with the Ohio Turnpike?


11:57

Randy Cole
I know the road. There are 241 miles, 1500 lane miles. Wait, this isn’t about me, but yes, the turnpike runs right past the plant, and I know it pretty intimately.


12:08

Rick Stockburger
And before we get over to Mike’s part of this story, though, how many unique charges have happened on the Ohio turnpike now? And I think some of those investments were made while you were know.


12:21

Randy Cole
Rick, that’s very nice of you to bring up. I mean, that just kind of gave me goosebumps, right? Because when I was director of the Ohio Turnpike, we worked to put the first charging stations on the turnpike. They’re now at all 14 service plazas. But the Ohio turnpike, Mike, has just had over 100,000 unique charges on that road. So think of when you drove it, and I want to hear your story about I 80 and driving by the plant. But think from the time you drove it at the time you did today, that now it is part of the US charging network infrastructure that allows people to get rid of range anxiety and to get to their destination on time. Not to mention a hot cup of coffee in a clean bathroom at one of those service plans.


13:10

Mike Repetto
It sounds like you still work for. Yeah, my history goes back a long ways with the turnpike, Pennsylvania Turnpike and the Ohio Turnpike. I grew up in Philadelphia, but went to college in Flint, Michigan, at what is now Kettering University. So back in 1983, I was in my dad’s Chevy van with my parents and we drove west on the turnpikes and we passed the plant for the very first time. And you realize what a fantastic, complex facility it is. I think it takes about a minute to pass the facility, 6.2 million sqft. So over the years, going back and forth between college and home, and then once I moved to Michigan in 1989, I passed the plant 200 times. But I finally set foot in it for the first time in the summer of 2021, which was really interesting for the first time.


14:10

Mike Repetto
So it’s a long history and I’m very much glad I’m inside the plant.


14:17

Randy Cole
Talked. You talked briefly. I talked briefly about Foxconn, the concept of contract manufacturing. Yes. I think you’re most famous for making iPhones, but you’re not owned by Apple. You have a taiwanese background, but significant us presence in Ohio and Wisconsin. And you make things. And so can you explain again how are you different than a traditional OEM or how do people engage with you? How have you started what you are doing? And why? Is that a better path to market for maybe a smaller company or a growing company than building their own plant?


14:54

Mike Repetto
Well, I’ll start off with explaining my organization within the plant. And we are between customers and partners and the operation. So the PMO organization has project management, business development, account management, external affairs. So we are very much customer facing, we’re outward facing, but we’re also, then we hand off to the operation to build the product. So what we do, as I said earlier, we interact with tens, 20s companies. We’re always interacting right now with many different companies that come to us with an ask. And the fundamental ask, we want you to build our product. But they might have other asks as well. But mostly it’s because they know we know how to build things. They know that we know how to put stuff together. And so they’ve got a confidence in our ability to do that.


15:51

Mike Repetto
But as we said earlier, this is a very capital intensive operation to put to make a vehicle $5 billion if you start as a greenfield. And we have all that in place already. We have a paint shop, we have a body shop, we have a stamping shop, general assembly. We can make batteries, pack assemblies, modules, assemblies, which is really attractive to these customers. What we end up doing, though, we do have 6.2 million manufacturing space and a set amount of human resources, but we have to make sure we allocate that properly. So we want to make as sure as possible with the companies that we’re vetting. Talk more about that.


16:36

Randy Cole
Yeah, well, that’s what I. Exactly. Thank you. That’s exactly what I’d like to talk more about is like, what is that bet? How do you vet them? What’s your business model? Without getting into details that give away any company secrets or people wouldn’t understand, but what’s that business model? Do you just sign a short term contract? Is there a big upfront check? Is it per piece of equipment? How does your business model work? And then after that, I’d love to talk about one of your, like a case study, like a customer come in and how that’s working.


17:11

Mike Repetto
Well, there’s a few things we do. Primarily we have to get down tough financials and understanding. We have to be able to give a quotation to a customer, which is what we call the MPA. It’s the amount of money that we’re going to charge them for putting the product together. That’s the one thing. And that doesn’t include any amortization of any investment. But then there’s an investment as well. It’s not $5 billion if you’re going GrEenfield but you still have to have some money. There’s product specific investment that we would have to charge to the customer. There’s different ways in which we might quote that, but they have to understand that. And these relationships are like a marriage. We have to be very transparent with the numbers. We put those on the table and then we decide.


18:02

Mike Repetto
We have open conversations on how we need to handle that. We might also have investments that are not product specific, but we need to do things to the plant to make their products, but also other products. There’s a little bit of piece of that as well. But some of the customers, they will ask us for more than just putting the product together. They might need help with engineering. They might need help with strategic sourcing of components. And those are things that within Foxconn we can help, but also through our greater network of suppliers and engineering partners, third party providers and those types of things, folks like, you know, those are things that we can offer to our customers.


18:45

Randy Cole
Well, I think we’ll talk more about that in a little bit because I’d like to know, I’m sure Rick would like to know as our CEO, how to engage and what we can bring to your network. So you talked about that. And again, we already covered the fact using a football analogy, it’s not football season, but using a football analogy, you get somebody to the 50 yard line or to the 40 yard line or the red zone and their investments just get them to the goal line. Right. Versus starting from scratch, starting with a greenfield or a reclaimed brownfield, where they have to make all the investment. And you brought up supply chain and logistics, and it’s like, things that you guys have inherent expertise in the manufacturing space that you bring to that partnership.


19:30

Randy Cole
So it’s not just space and equipment, it’s people and understanding and technology. You bring all of that to that partnership, and they make an investment at a lower level. They would if they were doing it on their own.


19:41

Mike Repetto
That’s exciting.


19:42

Randy Cole
So tell me about one of them. I think everyone knows that Monarch tractor is in your facility. Tell me about that relationship, how it happens, how it’s working, things like that.


19:53

Mike Repetto
Yeah. That relationship goes back almost three years now. Monarch tractor reached out to us, and with the typical ask, they wanted us to build their product. Now, admittedly, when I started with Foxconn in the middle of 2021, I did not think were going to be building tractors. I figured, would it be all automotive products? But they’ve got a very technologically advanced product. It’s autonomous, it’s what they call driver optional. It’s electric, it’s got a swappable battery. So it’s a really great product. And that’s one of the first things we need to do. We need to believe in the product. And we signed a contract manufacturing agreement with them in August of 2022, and then we got them into production by the end of Q one of 2023. So that’s not alone. That’s not a long period of time.


20:51

Rick Stockburger
Can you repeat that? Like, how fast were they in production?


20:56

Mike Repetto
It’s about seven months. Seven to eight months, albeit it’s certainly a ramp. But we got them into production. Those tractors went to customers. And this tractor is designed for vineyards and orchards. So it’s a compact tractor. But the way were able to do that, to get into production so quickly, was we gave them a lower capex, lower investment solution to get into production earlier. That met our needs. That met their needs. And then as their demand continues to grow, we add the appropriate amount of capital so they can scale. And so it was a really win for both of us, as were learning together. But to go a little bit further, Randy, to talk about the case study, which is representative of how we look at all customers, potential customers, is, again, we have to believe in their product.


21:51

Mike Repetto
We have to believe in their market. Are they trying to solve a real world problem? Do we agree with that? What’s their go to market strategy? Whether it’s b to b or b to c. That’s all important. We have to believe that they have good funding now and ways to get additional funding. And that goes further and further into understanding how they’re spending the money. If they’ve got this amount of cash, then what are they going to do with that over the next year or in two years? And then finally we have to believe in their leadership. And this goes with every company. But with Monarch, it checked all those five boxes. So were very happy with. We’re very happy with what we’re doing with monarch, very happy with.


22:42

Rick Stockburger
It’s so cool. The correlation really, between how we vet companies and how you vet companies. I mean, it’s very similar from that. But not only how we vet, but how we prepare. We’re startups, we’re a lot earlier stage companies that BRITE works with. But those are really the five questions that we’re asking when we decide to deploy our resources to help a company get to the level where, frankly, they can potentially get a contract manufacturing partnership with a company like Boxcon. And so it’s really cool how aligned I think we are organizationally for what you’re trying to accomplish and what we’re trying to accomplish. And that’s what good partnership is about and what it looks like. I want to shift gears a little bit.


23:26

Rick Stockburger
Recently, I think there’s been a lot of talk about the Inflation Reduction act and chips act and all of this federal funding that’s been kind of flowing into this space in general around vehicle electrification, charging infrastructure, battery manufacturing, and all of those opportunities. And how has that affected or not affected your business here at Foxconn?


23:53

Mike Repetto
Well, I think since the IRA was announced, we’ve certainly seen an uptick inquiries that folks that want to talk to us, and we get those inquiries from many different ways. Sometimes someone messages on LinkedIn, sometimes it’s through our network a lot of different ways. But the ones that are really interested in the implication of the IRA, a lot of those are folks that are building a vehicle overseas and they want to localize in North America as well. So they want to do it in the most economical fashion. I think we’ve seen multiple scenarios there from both Asia and from Europe, so that’s interesting, but we’ve seen it here in north american startups as well. So that’s definitely gone up. So that’s led to certainly vehicle manufacturing discussions, but also have gotten us further into battery discussions as well.


24:53

Mike Repetto
We understand what the IRA is in terms of the future plan. You got to have more and more sourcing of materials here and such. But it starts with doing the manufacturing and assembly here, and we’re having those types of discussions. So we’ve definitely seen an uptick. Awesome.


25:10

Rick Stockburger
Well, that’s great news. And I think that’s something that I’m sure the administration also loves to hear, is that it’s directly benefiting your business. I also just think too around being from northeast Ohio in the space there was obviously in the whatnot companies were leaving Ohio. My dad lost his job working in steel and all of that. It’s really cool that we’re now. And a lot of that, frankly, was due to some government bad policies. And so it’s exciting to see that there’s policies that are getting put in place now that are doing the opposite of that are attracting companies from around the world to potentially come here and employ people in northeast Ohio. How big is your workforce generally?


26:03

Mike Repetto
Right now it’s about 450 people, Foxconn employees. And then there’s embedded, what we say, embedded contractors also. So the total population in the plant is somewhere between 556 hundred right now.


26:19

Rick Stockburger
Yeah, I know when GM left Lordstown, the question was that number going to be zero. And having over 500 people working in that plant is amazing. So congrats to that. And speaking to that, why Ohio? I know you used to drive by on the turnpike, and that’s with, I think, you know, a big thing that people talk about or whatever is flyover country in the midwest. But a. Tell me a little bit more maybe about your connection to the automotive space. But then also, why did Foxconn choose the voltage Valley, mahoning Valley for their ev revolution like where you’re headquartered, right?


27:02

Mike Repetto
Yeah. Well, yeah, I was going to answer the question exactly how you post it. Personal connection first. Yeah, I’ve been in the auto industry a long time. I’ve been in Michigan since 1989 and mostly in the tier one space. So were supplying things to the big companies. But that experience has really helped with Foxconn as well. But being so long in the auto industry and being well researched, I read automotive news and all the other publications to stay up on what’s happening in the industry. That’s why I was certainly like, randy, you knew the ev was coming. We knew it was happening and been reading about it for years. And as a supplier, were supplying previously to companies that were doing evs in the Midwest. Here, obviously, Michigan is number one for automotive jobs, but Ohio is number two.


27:58

Mike Repetto
Ohio has a great history of building vehicles, but also a great history with supplying to those companies, yeah.


28:06

Rick Stockburger
And I hate to interrupt you, but the first Packard automobile rolled off the line here in 1899 in Warren, Ohio. So we’ve been building cars here for a minute. They later moved to Detroit and had some plants there. But the first one was right here in Warren, Ohio.


28:21

Mike Repetto
Yes, I’m aware of that. There’s a Packard proving ground location near where I live in Michigan. So I certainly know that the history here in Ohio know the capability of the know, both automotive, but manufacturing in general. And many companies are choosing to set up shop in Ohio because there’s a great manufacturing skill set here, and that’s very important. We want to go back to the days in this specific plant of putting a lot of that manufacturing skill set back to work. That’s what we’re trying to do. So to switch gears to the Foxconn angle, when were first looking at doing evs, were looking at another location and doing a greenfield. And then actually, my first day with Foxconn in 2021, I actually flew to that location. I was thinking, that’s where we’re going to make the evs.


29:18

Mike Repetto
But then I found out about this location, and again, I was very familiar with it from the turnpike. Ultimately, what ended up happening. We went through a long due diligence process. We came into the plant, we saw the good bones of the facility, the equipment that was still here, the stamping presses that were here and remain here, the robots in the body shop, the paint shop, all that was here. But what made it ultimately different was the skill set and the folks that were in the building. The leadership and then the associates know how to build things. So that if you look at the leadership of our plant right now, I think it represented maybe ten to 15 different oems. Certainly a lot of GM folks, a lot of Ford and other folks, but also EV companies.


30:10

Mike Repetto
There’s Tesla experience, there’s Hyundai experience and VW experience. That’s all fantastic. So we don’t want to build a plant just like one of those oems. We want to make the best plant with that skill set. So you look at doing a greenfield in one location, great, okay, you can set it up exactly how you want to do it, but you don’t have those people. And that would have taken years to build and may not even been possible. So I think that’s ultimately why we’re here.


30:41

Randy Cole
That’s an awesome story, Mike. In fact, when we think about it, again, when you think of the loss of some of the past jobs, but you look at our educational systems and the workforce that’s know, I think this is just one of those applications that are many where the right workforce training, the right opportunities, you can tap that great resource we have, which is the people who live here, they’re hardworking. They do understand how to build things and make things, and they want to be productive, they want to work hard. And I think being a part of an exciting future is a big deal. So that’s great. Thank you so much for sharing that. So enough about you. Let’s talk about us.


31:22

Mike Repetto
If you don’t.


31:26

Randy Cole
Know Foxconn, you’ve invested in BRITE. We’ve got a partnership together to help each other and benefit the same way. We asked why Ohio those types of things. What do you expect out of that relationship and why are you excited about working with BRITE and what we’re doing within the EV ecosystem and the energy technology space, the energy innovation space? What excites you about that and why?


31:55

Mike Repetto
Okay, I have five kids, so I’ve.


31:58

Randy Cole
Had to answer the question why a lot?


32:03

Mike Repetto
Well, I’ll back up just a little bit. One thing, when we came into the area, we wanted to be, and we want to be a good partner in the area, in the Mahoning valley. And that means we eventually need to find a lot of people to fill up this, to work in this facility. So we have to have a good name in the community. We have to have good connections to colleges and universities, to the chambers and so forth. And then that ultimately extends then to the relationship with BRITE. As a good corporate citizen, we have to be supporting the organizations. And if we’re asking of the community, we have to give as well.


32:46

Mike Repetto
And so I think that give first is a key thing with BRITE, and we see that with you guys with us now, we definitely want to be a good partner and good stored in the community. So by supporting there, we have the same mission. There’s more than just evs and what you’re doing with green energy and so forth. But we’re connected on the evs and the vehicle side, so we’ve got a common goal there. So I think we’re definitely aligned there. Maybe some of the folks that are going through your programs will end up being customers for us. There’s certainly kind of a selfish look at it there. But if we being in the community can help support them as well, that’s a benefit.


33:37

Mike Repetto
If some of the folks that are working in the BRITE network eventually could end up working for us, there could be some benefits. I see so many different ways that this collaboration can go forward and work well for everybody. So I don’t know if that answers all your questions.


33:58

Rick Stockburger
Mean, and obviously, we’re excited about the partnership, and not only the partnership with Foxconn, but Mike, you personally joining our board, I think just adds so much depth and breadth of knowledge to our organization from that standpoint. So I think we’re very blessed to have you personally engage with us and helping lead the vision of the organization long term. It’s unbelievably important, too. So, speaking of leading the vision long term, I’m popping up a question on you that hasn’t been cleared yet, but I think it’s a fun question to ask at the end of an interview at any point in time. So I’d love for you to get your crystal ball out. And just think about ten years from now, what is your prediction for the EV industry? What do you think it looks like ten years from now?


34:49

Mike Repetto
Well, I think we talked earlier. One of you gentlemen mentioned about 5%. We just gotten past 5% in evs, and up until recently, there were some forecasts. We’re looking at about 30% to 33% share by the end of the decade. That’s probably going to be a bit lower than that now, but it’s eventually going to go beyond that. I see a couple of different areas, I think with passenger car, passenger vehicle growth, I think that’s where the curve is coming down a little bit. I think the commercial side is something that’s going to be going to remain strong because I think that the companies that are delivering products around the country from last mile delivery and back up to class eight, those companies are going to need to electrify, and we’re hearing from them directly through some of our partnerships.


35:49

Mike Repetto
And so I think that demand is going to continue, and we’re dealing with some companies like that. But as far as a prediction, I don’t think we’re going to be at 30% by the end of the decade, but I think the growth is going to continue to be there. Maybe it’s 25%, but it’s going to continue. But there’s other things, like, Mike, that.


36:09

Randy Cole
Was the answer you gave because you haven’t listened to all of our podcasts. But in a different episode, we did talk about fleets being the ideal use case, especially now, but into the future.


36:20

Mike Repetto
In.


36:23

Randy Cole
High mile volume vehicles. Right. Those cars, trucks, small trucks and larger that are going 40, 50,000 miles a year. Right. Not just sitting in a garage, but they’re out consistently. The ROI is different for those vehicles. And I think that’s why you’re seeing investments like monarch and hopefully other types of equipment, right, that get high utilization, are close to home, roughly speaking, are going to be great use cases and are going to continue the EV adoption. So thank you for backing us up, even if you didn’t know you were doing it.


36:58

Mike Repetto
Well, you’re welcome, Randy. But to go on a specific area with fleets, especially in the last mile delivery space, the class one to maybe class three vehicles, they don’t need the range that the passenger cars need. They need probably 100 and 5200 miles. And so the vehicles can be a little bit lighter and light begets light. They have the inverse in the other direction. So there’s so many benefits there. So I think the total cost of ownership for the fleet owners is different, but it’s really important. And they can see the benefit just like Monarch’s customers can see the benefit. They’re not buying diesel. They’re doing a lot of good things with electricity.


37:43

Rick Stockburger
Awesome. Well, Mike, I wanted to give you one last chance. Anything left that you wanted to say that you didn’t have a chance to say to our great audience here at BRITE lights?


37:53

Mike Repetto
Well, I want to thank you very much for having me join today. And in terms of my relationship with BRITE, it’s early days. Well, the official relationship, I think the unofficial one goes back a little bit longer, but it’s early days and you asked me a year from now, what do I think about the collaboration? I’m going to have a lot more specifics and it’s going to be a successful collaboration. We’re going to talk about things that we’ve done together, and I look forward to having that discussion down the road. Awesome.


38:19

Rick Stockburger
So that mean you’re coming back in 2025 to be a repeat offender of BRITE lights?


38:28

Mike Repetto
Possibly.


38:29

Rick Stockburger
Awesome. No, that’s so great to hear and we’re so excited about that. Well, Mike, want to thank you so much for joining us for this episode of BRITE Lights. Randy, this is your third co hosting experience with BRITE lights, and it’s been great to have you for EV month here. Next month, we’ll have Mike Stacy as our co host talking about infrastructure and space in general. And so we’re so excited about that. But Randy, I wanted to make sure I gave you a chance as your last co hosting for February. If you had anything you wanted to say as a sign.


39:11

Randy Cole
Just again, I appreciate the way BRITE we look at the market, but each of the guests we’ve had, I remember back throughout my career you hear what other people are doing or you read a newspaper article, you hear something on tv or on the radio, a podcast, and you just get a little bit of something. And I think what we’ve been able to understand through these podcasts is the breadth, the depth of knowledge and investment and talent that’s out there and the passion that comes with it, too. And I think from that perspective, what we’re doing, what’s happening with Ohio and the midwest, these growing companies, the services they’re providing, we’re not flyover country.


39:52

Randy Cole
We have a lot happening, and we can sell to the people on the coasts, but we can build things and do things here, and it’s going to surprise a lot of people in the coming years. So I was happy to be a part of this and hear that depth of what’s going on out there. So thank you for giving me the opportunity. And at some point now that I feel I’m getting better at this, you’ll let me do it again sometime?


40:15

Rick Stockburger
Absolutely. You’re on the short list for co hosts, that’s for sure. So for Mike Repetto, the senior director of project management office at Foxconn EV Systems, and for Randy Cole, the EIR for emobility at BRITE, I’m Rick Stockberger, the president and CEO. And to our BRITElights audience, we’ll catch you on the BRITE side.

Building a BRITE Future

Share your voice!

We need your input to understand how we can best optimize our Warren, OH facility!