As competitions sours in the Electric Vehicle markets, with each manufacturer trying to find something to distinguish itself from competitions, we have continued to see diverse and interesting EV concepts. It’s with that in mind that Byton, a startup from China isn’t taking any chances. It has promised to launch an SUV that is fully powered by electricity in 2019, with an initial price of around $45,000. Unlike EVs from other manufacturers, theirs will not be using the amount of power the car can derive from its batteries as the marketing advantage. Instead, Byton Electric SUV Promised for 2019 is Loaded with Tech. It’s will essentially be a “smartcar.”
According to Byton, theirs will be a smartphone no wheels, which will make its stand out as a car based on connectivity rather than just mobility based on electric power. The motivation behind their car is that we are heading to a future where horsepower will not be as important as technology that supports the operation of a car. According to Byton’s president Daniel Kirchert, who is also Byton’s co-founder, Apple inspires him a lot more than Tesla does.
In regular cars, we have a traditional dashboard with basic display of parameters that give you the state of your car, and recently a small screen that displays navigation information as well a screen that helps you to park it. Byton has replaced that arrangement with one long digital screen measuring 49-inches. It’s through this screen that the person sitting at the driver’s seat and the front passenger seat are able to communicate with the driver.
The digital screen allows you to communicate with the car using your voice and hand gestures. Moreover, it will also integrate the Alexa digital Assistant from Amazon, which will allow the car to exploit all the skills that come with it to give the driver a more pleasurable and smooth driving experience. The car also includes an AI that will get to learn your driving preferences as time goes by. Moreover, it will use facial recognition to help you start your car, eliminating the need to carry your car key with you everywhere.
Furthermore, Byton has design its car’s technology accessories in modular form to allow upgrades of both the hardware and software. The upgrades will be primarily target at the self-driving technology, since it’s likely to experience major developments in the near future. Byton has said its EV will deploy a Level 3 Self-Drive feature, which will later be upgrades to Level 4 by 2020. At Level 3, the car will only be able to drive-itself under certain ideal conditions.
However, it will require a drive to sit by and takeover within a short notice, typically a second or two. At Level 4, the car can drive in just less than ideal conditions for a longer period. Moreover, the car can come to a stop on its own if the driver does not respond in time and take control. That makes level 4 more attractive than level 3 because you can take off concentration from the road and do something else for a while when on a good section of the highway.
When it comes to power, the Byton will have one electric motor capable of supplying 210 horsepower to the front axle, and a second motor supplying 268 horsepower to the rear axle. The motors will derive their power from a lithium-ion battery rated at 71-kilowatt-hour for the entry-level model. For those who want more, there is an option to order for a 95kwh battery. The entry-level 71kwh battery will be able to drive the car to an average distance of 200 miles, while the higher capacity 95kwh battery will drive the car for a distance of up to 310 miles.
Inside the cabin, you will enjoy a luxurious space thanks to the car’s wide wheelbase and efficient design. The interior uses a combination of skilled artisanship, color and quality and luxury materials to give occupants a feeling of being in a bespoke lounge. To take its design a notch higher, it will include front seats that can rotate, making Byton a pioneer of that design. That’s if the design is retained when the goes to production.
Production will be done in China at the plant’s headquarters in Nanjing, China, where its plant is expected to be operational by 2019. Production of the car will start later in 2019, with sales in major markets such as Europe and United States expected to start in mid 2020. As we move into 2020, there are signs that the EV market will see new entrants from Asia competing with other EV startups manufacturers such as Lucid, Detroit, NEVS, Faraday Future, and Nio. Overall, it seems Asia is ready to leave its mark in the EV challenge as we edge into the 2020s.