Luxury EV with Four-foot Display Panel Arrives By End of Year
The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has become the place where the tech world and the automotive world come together. This year that collaboration—or collision, depending on how you look at—was most evident when Chinese automaker Byton showed off the production version of its new EV’s interior.
As the company has previewed in its concept version, the new M-Byte SUV’s most distinguishing feature is on its car-wide dash—a 49-inch long piece of touchscreen the company is now calling the Shared Experience Display (is that a SHED?). That electronic landscape is augmented by another display screen in the center of the steering wheel. The focus on what is known as the user interface is logical for Byton because another key tenant of the company’s cars (the SUV will be followed by a sedan then an MPV-multipurpose vehicle) is a focus on autonomous operation. The M-Byte, which is slated to start deliveries by the end of this year, will debut with Level 3 automation, where the car can drive on its own, but the driver is required to be ready to take over operation at any time.
The midsize M-Byte SUV is slated to arrive before the end of 2019 in two versions—the base $45,000 rear-wheel drive model come with a 71-kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery and 250 miles of range. The topline all-wheel drive model will have a 95-kWh battery, 325 miles of range and a starting price of around $60,000. As with most of the new generation of luxury EVs, it is designed to accommodate DC fast-charging that facilitates quick reboots of the battery.
The Smart Device Company
Byton is positioning itself as a “premium smart EV” brand. It’s a branding message almost as long as its massive dashboard screen. This is a segment that I believe is going to become quite crowded in the coming years. I can’t think if any of the recently introduced or planned EVs that wouldn’t claim that same tag line.
In spite of—or maybe these actions aren’t connected—the tech company-like rhetoric, Byton’s other announcements put it more in line with a traditional auto company. It has hundreds of prototypes of the M-Byte running around the world for testing. That—and an experienced automotive executive team that came from BMW and Nissan, among others—indicates that Byton appears to be serious about meeting its production timeline. If it can hold its aggressive pricing plans and high level of advanced technology, Byton may become a serious contender in the burgeoning premium EV market.
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