Byton shows off all-electric SUV with a 90kWh battery pack, taking the fight for EVs to Tesla’s doorstep
Future Mobility Corp., the promising start-up comprised of former Tesla, Nissan, and BMW talent, has debuted the first production concept model to be built by its EV brand Byton. Delivering on promises made last year, the results were impressive.
In another CES-exclusive launch, Byton used the platform to show off its all-electric premium SUV. More impressively, the model on display is actually drivable with some lucky attendees even given the chance to go for a ride.
In addition to looking good, Byton promises competitive battery size and range. Built on a bespoke platform – which will also extend to its future portfolio of sedans and MPVs – the production SUV will come in options: a rear-wheel drive model with a 71 kWh battery pack and a range of 400 km (248.5 miles); and a four-wheel drive, 95 kWh battery pack with a range of up to 520 km (323 miles).
Power in the former will come in the form of a 200kW single-motor rear-wheel drive system, and 350kW (710NM torque) dual motors in the four-wheel drive model.
In fast charge mode, Byton also claims 80% of the battery can be recharged in 30 minutes.
The new SUV will be manufactured at the company’s plant in Nanjing, China, at a pretty damn reasonable US$45,000. It will be available in China towards the end of 2019, and the US and Europe by 2020.
As with most manufacturers the designers are keen to press the EV’s capabilities as a smart device, and one capable of smart mobility and autonomous driving.
As well as a 1.2m screen which replace the central console – aka the Shared Experience Display – there is a a Driver Tablet and two display screens on the rear-seat entertainment system – all housed in the cabin, or “shared lounge” as Byton calls it.
Other futuristic features include facial recognition cameras which can recognize the driver or passengers and be used to unlock the door. Plus a wooden floor and leather seats, for those extra touches of luxury.
With deliveries planned for next year, Byton has a lot to do in a short time. And with only US$240 million in current funding, investors will be needed urgently if those deadlines to be met. But Byton has succeeded in broadly demonstrating an ambitious EV, with consumer appeal and at a reasonable price.
In an interview in April last year president and co-founder Daniel Kirchert told the South China Morning Post that: “China has the potential to have two to three Tesla-size electric-car giants,” Kirchert added. “FMC has the confidence to become one of them.”
Based on its offering at CES, there are few reasons to doubt him.