Foxconn in talks with EV startup Byton for funding, report says

Foxconn in talks with EV startup Byton for funding, report says

According to a Monday report from Bloomberg, the Taiwanese manufacturer is in talks to invest in Chinese EV startup Byton. As a supplier for Apple Inc., this deal could mark a large bet by the iPhone assembler on the car-making business, according to sources familiar with the matter.

With the Foxconn deal in place, Byton now hopes to start producing its technology-packed M-Byte vehicle by the first quarter of 2022.

The deal is good news for Byton, the Chinese startup that had hoped to put its first vehicle, an SUV called the M-Byte, into production in mid-2020. Foxconn, based in Taiwan, is also talking to other Chinese electric-car makers on potential collaborations, another person said. Under the arrangement, Foxconn will supply Byton with its advanced manufacturing technology, operation management expertise and supply chain resources.

As the auto industry shifts towards electrification, traditional vehicle mechanical systems are being replaced with computer-controlled electric powertrains, batteries, and next-generation control systems and sensors for autonomous driving.

The move is the latest step by Foxconn into the electric vehicle industry, which includes an agreement signed past year to establish a Chinese-market joint venture with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and a plan to launch a solid-state EV battery by 2024. In October, the Taiwanese company unveiled its first electric-vehicle chassis and an open software platform that's meant to help EV makers deliver models to the market faster.

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Foxconn is already supplying parts to other major automakers, including Tesla. Chairman Young Liu has said he expects Hon Hai sales to grow by single digits in 2021, while its automotive-related business will be "very good" in the first half.

Byton, one of the highest-profile Chinese EV startups, had a tough 2020.

However in June the company announced it was suspending its operations for six months, beginning on July 1, 2020. The shutdown, which was partially blamed on the pandemic and China's cooling auto market, has since been extended until next June. The company's website still accepts reservations for cars. The company would consider an initial public offering after new financing and production begins, he had said in 2019.

The M-Byte SUV's features include a top speed of 190 kilometers (118 miles) an hour and it can reach 80% of full charge in about 35 minutes.

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