Byton to launch collaboration with Foxconn in 2022
The struggling electric car startup Byton is negotiating a collaboration with Apple contract manufacturer Foxconn for what is reportedly an investment of $200 million. The plan is apparently to start mass production of the Byton M-Byte in the first quarter of 2022.
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Foxconn Technology Group, which is primarily known as a contract manufacturer in Apple’s consumer electronics, is pushing into the car business. According to the inside sources, mass production of the M-Byte could start in the first quarter of next year. No mention has been made yet concerning exactly what the alleged investment of $200 million (equivalent to 162 million euros) will be used for; whether purely for the start of production or still modifications to the vehicle itself.
Byton had already started pre-series production of the M-Byte in October 2019 and was on its way to series production. The schedule wobbled in the wake of the Corona pandemic, at the latest, as promised funds ended falling out. In July, the company temporarily ceased operations, and in October there were already rumours about the interest of potential investors, although the name Foxconn did not come up. Byton is backed primarily by Chinese shareholders and is based in Taiwan. These include FAW, the Nanjing Development Zone and the battery cell manufacturer CATL.
Foxconn did not respond to a request for comment from Bloomberg, and Byton declined to comment. When asked by electrive, a spokesperson for Byton Europe confirmed there would be no announcement until the contract is signed. “There are plans for Byton and Foxconn to cooperate. It was also agreed not to talk about investment amounts, so there will be no statement from us on that,” the spokesperson said.
Foxconn plans to broaden its business and become more independent of Apple. The US American company, which itself is rumoured to have electric car plans, currently accounts for more than half of Foxconn’s sales. In the car business, the partnership with Fiat-Chrysler announced in spring 2020 is expected to be part of this, as is the company’s own electric car platform unveiled in October 2020. At that time, Group CEO Liu Young-way said that Foxconn wanted to be represented in every tenth electric car worldwide with components or services by 2027 at the latest.
Update 05 January 2021: Byton has now confirmed the deal via press release. As previously indicated by a Byton spokesperson to electrive, the two companies are not revealing the exact amount of the investment, saying only that Byton, Foxconn and the Nanjing Development Zone have agreed that Foxconn will provide its manufacturing experience, solid management experience and industry resources to support the production of the M-Byte. The targeted date of the first quarter of 2022 has now also been confirmed.
Byton has also now just announced the end of construction of its “industrial 4.0 manufacturing base” in Nanjing that “has been completed with all advanced facilities for stamping, welding, painting, general assembly” while they say that currently battery packing is being installed and commissioned. The Taiwan-based Chinese electric car startup says that the first batch of pre-production vehicles rolled off the production line and completed safety tests in the first half of 2020. Byton was granted with a new energy vehicle production license in June 2020.