The Byton M-Byte was originally supposed to be launched in 2019 but, it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing.
Like many other EV startups, the company quickly ran into problems and was forced to furlough employees as well as suspend most of their operations.
However, Byton has found a white knight in the form of iPhone maker Foxconn and the Nanjing Development Zone. All three have signed a strategic cooperation framework which aims to “jointly accelerate production of Byton’s 1st model M-Byte by the first quarter of 2022.”
Under the terms of the agreement, “Foxconn will provide its expertise in advanced manufacturing technology, solid operational management experience and will share industrial resources to support the production of Byton’s M-Byte.” This is being done to advance Foxconn’s own electric vehicle ambitions, which call for the creation of a flexible platform that can underpin a variety of vehicles including hatchbacks, sedans, SUVs and MPVs.
Little else is known about the deal, but Automotive News is reporting Foxconn is investing around $200 (£147 / €163) million. Byton also noted construction of their plant in Nanjing has been completed and the first pre-production vehicles rolled off the assembly line early last year.
In a statement, Foxconn Chairman Young Liu said “We are pleased to work with Byton to advance the production of the M-Byte. This will allow us to contribute toward the further growth of the EV industry, a demonstration of our commitment in the transformation of the traditional automotive industry.”
As a refresher, the M-Byte is slated to feature a 201 hp (150 kW / 204 PS) front electric motor and a 268 hp (200 kWh / 272 PS) rear electric motor. They’ll be powered by 72 and 95 kWh battery packs, which are designed to enable a range of up to 342 miles (550 km) in the New European Driving Cycle.