Future Mobility (FMC), a Chinese electric start-up firm, has launched its own car brand named Byton. Additionally, it has teased its first model, ahead of an official reveal at next year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
The all-new EV, which is said to be a medium SUV, is scheduled to go into production in 2019 following its reveal at the 2018 Las Vegas event, and will offer a zero-emissions driving range of around 500 kilometres.
Heading the new brand is Carsten Breitfeld, former vice-president of engineering at BMW i. Meanwhile, FMC’s boss, Daniel Kirchert, said Byton’s upcoming electric SUV will be similar in size to an Audi Q5, while offering cabin space to rival a Mercedes-Benz S-Class – you can see the brand is aiming high with its new model.
Other highlights include a massive infotainment system (above), with a 1250mm by 250mm touchscreen that is separated into driver and passenger sections.
The large touchscreen will be joined by a removable tablet that can be mounted to the steering wheel to control in-car functions.
Speaking to the UK’s Autocar at Byton’s launch event, Kirchert said two versions of the electric crossover would be available at launch – a standard model with 350 kilometres of range, along with the aforementioned 500km long-range variant.
In addition to the electric tech, Byton also revealed its plans to equip its vehicles with the necessary hardware to make its upcoming SUV Level 5 autonomous-driving ready.
However, like Tesla’s current range, full autonomy is unlikely to be available at launch, instead regular over-the-air software updates will gradually upgrade the vehicle’s self-driving capabilities.
Following the rollout of the Byton SUV from 2019, the company also plans to release a sedan in 2021, then a seven-seat people mover in 2022.
To manufacture these new EVs, Byton is currently in the process of building a factory in Nanjing, China, which will reportedly have a production capacity of 100,000 units per annum when it goes live in 2019. However, once it’s fully completed, the facility is projected to be capable of a 300,000-unit yearly output.
Byton is now one of many Chinese electric start-up companies looking to penetrate the automotive industry in recent years, with its most notable compatriots including Faraday Future and parent company LeEco.
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