There have been plenty of Chinese companies working to release a production electric vehicle in the U.S. for the last several years. Byton hopes to start selling a production vehicle late next year, with the Byton Concept previewing the production version today at the Consumer Electronics Show.
The crossover is fairly sublime in its exterior styling with subtle design cues hinting at taking influence from Nissan and Land Rover. However, all that changes inside. Where a standard instrument cluster and infotainment system should go, there’s a wide, single-pane display that runs the entire length of the dashboard. The steering wheel has an eight-inch tablet mounted in the center. Even the seats rotate inward 12 degrees.
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The concept is about 85 percent of what consumers will see as the final version, according to the automaker. Expect to see significant interior changes inside when Byton begins making the production version; however, Byton says the large dashboard screen is staying. Exterior changes will likely be minimal, such as adding side mirrors and possibly making minor design changes to the front and rear fascias. The automaker hopes to begin selling in the U.S. sometime in 2019.
Byton says the single rear-mounted motor has an estimated range of 250 miles while making 272 horsepower. The dual-motor version produces 476 hp with an estimated range of 325 miles. Those aren’t unrealistic numbers, especially when Byton hopes the starting price of the base model will be $45,000.
As with any electric concept, Byton says its first production model will come with Level 3 autonomy with Level 4 coming sometime after 2020. After its production model hits the streets next year, Byton plans a sedan and compact offering, which will ride on the same platform.
There have been plenty of Chinese automakers hoping to break into the U.S. market through a flashy electric vehicle. Byton could be different. The company isn’t trying to make overtly flashy or fast. Time will tell if the company is successful, but having an office in the heart of Silicon Valley helps.