Vehicles | January 6, 2021 8:58 am

The Company That Builds iPhones Is Getting Into the Car Business

Foxconn wants to take on Apple in the electric vehicle space

Byton M-Byte electric SUV
The Byton M-Byte electric SUV has hit some snags, but Foxconn is coming to the rescue.
Byton

Two weeks ago we made the prediction that Apple, or another Big Tech company like Amazon or Google, will inevitably build its own electric vehicle, even if Tim Cook’s company doesn’t follow through on its 2024 target date. But if you’re reading this story on your iPhone, there’s another company besides Apple that’s instrumental in the creation of that ubiquitous smartphone — and now they’re getting in the EV game, too. 

Foxconn Technology Group, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant that builds iPhones, has signed a strategic cooperation deal with Byton, a Chinese electric-vehicle startup, as reported by Bloomberg. This isn’t the first time Foxconn has dipped its toes in the car world — it supplies parts to Tesla and other auto companies, and has a joint EV venture with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles — but this is the company’s first major push into taking on car manufacturing itself.

According to Bloomberg, Foxconn currently gets half its revenue from Apple, and on the flip side Apple heavily relies on Foxconn to produce its increasingly advanced (and expensive) phones. The play here for the Taiwanese manufacturer is to both leverage its increasingly valuable assets (as cars become more like smartphones) and decrease its dependency on the Steve Jobs empire. 

You may have heard of Byton, the EV startup Foxconn is investing in. We previously wrote about the 48-inch digital dashboard on their concept car, which seemed ludicrous at the time but is actually catching on. That was in 2019, when the plan was to have Byton EVs in the U.S. by 2020. Well, it’s 2021 and no one has heard of Byton; they’ve reportedly hit some snags during the pandemic, snags they hope Foxconn’s investment will free them from.

Now, according to a press release, the plan is for Byton’s M-Byte electric SUV to start production in the first quarter of 2022. As for Foxconn, it’s not putting all its eggs in one basket.

An anonymous source told Bloomberg that Foxconn is “also talking to other Chinese electric-car makers on potential collaborations.” 

Remember what we said: Big Tech is coming for our cars, and apparently so are the Big Tech suppliers.