Apple’s biggest manufacturer may invest $200 million in electric car startup

Apple’s biggest manufacturer may invest 0 million in electric car startup

Byton Byte
The Byton M-Byte was publicly unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show.
Photo: Alexander Migl/Wiki CC
Foxconn, Apple’s largest supplier, looks to be getting in on the electric vehicle business. According to a Monday report from Bloomberg, the Taiwanese manufacturer is in talks to invest in Chinese EV startup Byton.

It reportedly plans to invest around $200 million in the company to begin mass-manufacturing the anticipated Byton M-Byte car by Q1 2022. An announcement could be made as early as today.

The report notes that:

“Tech companies are increasingly pouring money into developing next-generation cars, including all-electric vehicles and the smart technologies that go with them like autonomous driving and car-to-car communication systems. Foxconn is the single most important production partner for Apple, which is reportedly considering developing a self-driving car of its own. Foxconn is also seeking to diversify a business that depends on the U.S. smartphone giant for half its revenue.

The point about diversifying beyond Apple is interesting. Foxconn has long tried not to put all its eggs in the Apple basket. This is particularly pressing at a time when Apple is in the process of dividing up its supply chain — so that one part will service China, and another the rest of the world. While there’s no guarantee that this would negatively impact Foxconn, it would nonetheless represent a shakeup.

Byton, the company Foxconn is supposedly investing in, is one of the highest-profile Chinese EV companies. However, it had a difficult 2020. It suspended operations in July and furloughed staff. Even prior to this, it had struggled to hit deadlines for producing and delivering its first vehicle.

Apple’s own car project in the works

Apple is also hard at work on its own car project. The Apple Car has been rumored since 2014. Recently, the project was moved under the control of Apple’s AI boss. Many predict Apple will ship its debut vehicle sometime this decade, although specific timelines have been contrasting.

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