What We Know about Byton

Byton is yet another EV startup with intentions to enter the U.S. market. A Chinese company founded just a few years ago, in 2016, says it will have a vehicle on sale on our shores sometime in 2020. We recently gave Byton a score of 5.7/10 in our roundup of automotive startups and their chances of survival, so only time will tell if these plans come to fruition.

In any case, we caught up with representatives from Byton at CES 2019, where the company is showing off concept versions of the M-Byte crossover and the K-Byte sedan, to find out more about the company’s ambitious plans to enter the EV market.

The M-Byte crossover will come first

This crossover is the car that Byton intends to start selling in the U.S. by mid-2020. At 191 inches long with a 116-inch-long wheelbase, the M-Byte is similar in size to the BMW X5 and has two rows of seats.

Two battery options will be offered

The standard M-Byte will have a 71.0-kWh battery pack; a larger, 95.0-kWh pack is optional. We don’t have a good idea of the promised driving range, as Byton’s own estimates—250 miles for the standard battery and 325 miles for the bigger battery—go by the NEDC cycle, which has little bearing on the EPA’s test cycle for EVs.

Rear- and all-wheel drive will be available

A one-motor setup is standard, with a single rear-mounted electric motor providing power to the rear wheels. Either of these setups will be available with both battery-pack options.

It’s said to start at $45,000

The estimated base price of the M-Byte is all that Byton is providing right now, so we have no idea what the bigger battery pack will add to that bottom line.

There are tons of screens inside

In addition to the massive full-width display that dominates the dashboard, there’s also a small tablet-like display in the steering wheel. The photo you see here is supposed of the M-Byte crossover’s production-intent interior.

A sedan and an MPV are coming, too

Called the K-Byte, Byton’s other concept car is a lower, more traditional sedan body style that seems poised to compete with the Tesla Model S. Byton also says it plans to have a three-row minivan-like vehicle at some point. Both of these other models will come later than the M-Byte crossover.

The cars it’s showing now are concepts

At CES, Byton had concept versions of both the M-Byte and the K-Byte. The company says the M-Byte concept is 85 percent production-ready, so some of its more fanciful elements are bound to change before it hits public roads.