Chinese brand Byton officially unveiled the production version of its Byton Concept during the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas. With this, the brand hopes to soon enter the U.S. market.
For those unfamiliar with the company, Byton was launched as a new brand of China-based Future Mobility Corp. last year. Its current CEO is Carsten Breitfeld, who was previously the i vehicle program lead of BMW.
The production version presented during the 2018 CES shows an exterior that has been styled with subtle design cues that give one the impression of being inspired by Land Rover and Nissan. The interior however is a different story. While most standard models have an infotainment and instrument cluster, Byton’s offering instead has a single-pane that goes through the whole length of its dashboard. Mounted on the center of the steering is an 8-inch tablet. Meanwhile, the seats have the ability to rotate as much as 12 degrees inward.
Byton revealed that the one on display comprises around 85% of the final version that will be released. Minimal changes will be done on the exterior like adding side mirrors or even implementing small design changes on the front fascia and the rear one. The interior though will undergo some significant modifications. One thing customers are assured of is that the large dashboard screen will remain.
Powering this model is a single motor mounted on the rear. It can deliver 272 hp and come with a projected range amounting to 250 miles. A dual-motor version will be offered with output at 476 hp and projected range estimated to be 325 miles.
As expected from an electric concept car, this will be the first production version that Byton is releasing that offers Level 3 autonomy. A version with Level 4 autonomy is scheduled to arrive sometime after 2020. If the release of the production version proceeds on schedule, Byton hopes to offer a compact and sedan version utilizing the same platform.
Both customers and analysts alike are giving Byton’s offering a closer look as it could be the first Chinese brand to enter the U.S. market. In the past, Chinese automakers have used flashy electric vehicles. In general, Byton is trying a different approach as it is not advertising itself to be flashy or fast.
This has also piqued the interest of many as Byton has declared that it is planning to avoid the production problems that have long been experienced by Tesla. Byton executives, according to reports, hope to work with current and existing suppliers in order to realistically manage technology and production. Currently the brand has received a total funding of $320 million and already employs at least 400 employees.
Byton said that sales of this model could begin sometime in 2019 with a possible starting price for its base model of $45,000.