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Digital Trends / Tech - Game

Details remain scarce as Chinese EV startup Byton teases new electric SUV

Chinese EV startup Byton, led by the former head of BMW i, teases new electric SUV ahead of its debut at CES on January 7 in Las Vegas.


Byton is one of many Chinese automotive startups trying to get a slice of the worldly market pie, especially when its home turf is currently the largest market for automobiles. But more so, Byton has bigger ambitions: To become the new global leader in electric vehicles. So that means they have current automotive giants, like Tesla, right in its crosshairs.

It’s led by former head of BMW’s i division, Carsten Breitfeld, the same man who brought us the likes of the BMW i3 and i8. With Breitfeld at the helm of Byton, the company teased its latest effort, which is due for a full reveal at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, next week: A new all-electric SUV.

Based in Nanjing as a sub-brand to Future Mobility, Byton’s parent company co-founded by former BMW and Nissan executives, the company designed and developed its new SUV in Munich, Germany, and Santa Clara, California.

Although shy on details, the teasers shared showcase a futuristic interior, fully festooned with nothing but digital LCD screens for the control interfaces, alongside a set of seats, and a steering wheel. The steering wheel might seem like the only analog control on the inside, but even that comes with an LCD screen mounted in the center, typically where a horn and airbag sit.

The exterior of the SUV still remains hidden from plain sight, so we will have to wait for the full reveal to develop any opinions of it from an aesthetic standpoint.

Otherwise, Byton says the new SUV will come with 5G-capable Wi-Fi connectivity for an internet hotspot, and other innovative tech such as facial and voice recognition, and state-of-the-art hand- gesture controls.

On top of the attempt to produce an all-electric SUV, Byton plans to have its new baby showcase its efforts to introduce some next-generation autonomous driving functions. What separates Byton’s system from others, such as Tesla’s Autopilot, is that it is specially equipped for self-learning capabilities, examining its surroundings on the fly while communicating key traffic and driver behavioral data to other Byton cars.

The company boasts its new SUV offers a range of over 300 miles while charging for a “week’s worth of power” should only require the same amount of time it takes “for you to enjoy a cup of coffee,” as claimed by the manufacturer.

Byton’s reveal is scheduled for CES on Sunday, January 7 while sharing floor time with other competitors such as Rinspeed and Fisker.

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