Chinese electric car start-up Byton, run by ex-BMW I boss Carsten Breitfeld, has unveiled a concept version of its first model, an SUV with support for level four autonomous driving, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The Byton Concept is a premium full-electric SUV that's said to be “almost production ready” and will cost around £33,200 (US $45,000).
The SUV will be available in two powertrain configurations, with either a single 271hp electric motor driving the rear axle that produces 400Nm of torque, or a four-wheel-drive version with motors driving each axle. The two motors in the 4WD version combine for 475hp and 710Nm of torque.
Power will be stored in modular lithium-ion batteries, and while Byton hasn’t revealed the capacity, it says the Concept will have a range of almost 400km that can be increased to 520km with an upgraded battery pack.
The Concept will feature driver assistance systems that will enable it to support level four autonomous driving, including cameras, ultrasonic sensors, radar and laser scanners. It has been designed so that components can be upgraded as technology develops.
The Byton Concept is 4,850mm long, 1,940mm wide and 1,650mm high, and runs on 22-inch wheels. At the front of the car, the car gets slim LED headlights, referred to as a ‘Smart Surface’.
Instead of door handles, the Concept features facial recognition cameras that check biometric data and will only unlock the door to authorised users.
The interior is dominated by a 49.2-inch ‘Shared Experience Display’ that extends the length of the dashboard. It comprises three panels that can be customised and also has three rear-facing cameras – two take the place of the wing mirrors, and the third is mounted on the car’s rear.
The Shard Experience Display features gesture and voice control, or can be operated by a smartphone app. There are two displays for passengers in the rear, with the same control methods.
The main driver information, including navigation systems, is displayed in a touch-controlled 8.0-inch Driver Tablet integrated into the steering wheel. The edges of the display feature buttons for the drive selectors, indicators and infotainment volume.
The SUV is due to go into production in 2019, and Byton president Daniel Kirchert has said that a sedan and MPV, based on the same platform, will follow soon after.