Bloomberg is reporting that Apple screen supplier Foxconn has entered into a strategic production deal with embattled Chinese EV startup Byton, in a move that could see that car — and its infamous 48″ infotainment screen — finally reach series production. And it could happen somewhat sooner than later.
In many ways, Byton seemed like the anti-Nikola when the economic impacts of COVID-19 forced it to shut down its billion-dollar, state-of-the-art, 860,000 sq. ft. production facility last June. Unlike that troubled hydrogen truck company/alleged Wall Street scam, Byton had proven technology, an innovative design, and a novel enough interior to generate press (for better or for worse). Pre-production examples of its M-Byte crossover SUV had rolled off the line and been sent out for government certification, quality control, and even off to the media to be shown off as a for-real, definitely not vaporware thing that was going to happen. Right up until, you know … it didn’t happen.
Foxconn is expected to invest around $200 million to get production of the M-Byte up and running. And, with the additional aid of the Nanjing Economic and Technological Development Zone, mass production could be underway by Q1 of 2022.
The move seems like a natural one for Foxconn, whose expertise in making screens would dovetail nicely into something like the M-Byte’s massive infotainment system. It also seems like a calculated “toe into the automotive waters” for the consumer tech firm that could put it in a prime position to prove its worth as a supplier for — or competitor to — the upcoming Apple Car that, according to a Reuters report, is expected to arrive by 2024.
“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,” writes Bloomberg. “Foxconn is the single most important production partner for Apple … (and) is also seeking to diversify a business that depends on the U.S. smartphone giant for half its revenue.”
All of which sounds great, sure — and I’m excited for Byton’s prospects now that it has a heavy-hitting tech partner (read: money) on board. But, if I’m being totally honest, I’m kind of just hoping Foxconn getting involved in the automotive space pushes Apple to get involved in the automotive space and pushes Sony to build its incredibly slinky Vision S concept. It’s a car that I am deeply, passionately in love with for reasons I don’t fully understand, can’t explain, and don’t feel the need to justify while a pack of half-naked, conspiracy-theorizing, viking-helmeted furries are storming the US Capitol.
So, let us know what you think about all that in the comments section at the bottom of the page. And if you’re in DC while these Trump bootlickers are causing trouble, stay safe. If you’re one of the bootlickers … I dunno. Go f**k a cactus or something.
Byton M-Byte Launch Video
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