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Byton M-Byte electric SUV breaks cover in production form

Autocar Tuesday, 10 September 2019 ()
Chinese start-up's Tesla Model Y rival is planned to go on sale in Europe in 2021 for around £40,000

Chinese start-up company Byton has revealed a near-production-ready version of its first model, the M-Byte electric SUV. 

The M-Byte has been in development for two years. Launching on the Chinese market initially, with customer deliveries set to get underway in the middle of 2020, it's planned to arrive in Europe in 2021 at a starting price of €45,000 (£40,280). That's slightly more than the expected European price of the new Tesla Model Y. 

The production car bears a strong resemblance to the concept that was revealed earlier this year and retains that car’s distinctive 48in curved ‘Shared Experience Display’, the largest infotainment screen yet fitted to a production car. 

The screen forms part of what Byton calls “a digital lounge feeling” and allows passengers to access connectivity services and vehicle controls. 

The display can be controlled via an 7.0in screen located in the centre of the steering wheel or an 8.0in tablet mounted between the two front seats and is covered by a layer of shatter-proof glass to minimise risk of injury in a collision. 

Other defining features of the interior are a flat floor (made possible by the lack of a transmission tunnel), a floating dashboard, rotating front seats and a comprehensive list of personalisation options. 

The M-Byte range opens with the 72kWh entry-level model that's driven by a single, rear-mounted motor producing 268bhp and capable of 360 miles on the WLTP test cycle. An optional larger-capacity battery offers a range of up to 460 miles. 

The range-topping four-wheel-drive variant has a 95kWh battery that yields a 435-mile range as standard and uses a motor on each axle for a power output of 402bhp. 

All versions of the M-Byte are capable of 150kW rapid charging and can therefore be topped up to 80% capacity from empty in as little as 35 minutes. 

Byton claims to have taken more than 50,000 reservations worldwide and has already subjected the M-Byte to a number of test processes, including stringent crash tests to US and EU standards. The pre-ordering process for US and European customers, however, will not open until early next year. 

Byton CEO Daniel Kirchert said: “We're on the verge of starting series production, and the feedback from media and especially from our future customers is of great relevance to us.

“Today’s unveiling of the Byton M-Byte also shows the effort paying off for the team, which has worked relentlessly on the car for over two years. Within that short amount of time, we have taken a smart electric car from an initial idea on a white sheet of paper to series-production readiness, while also building a coherent infrastructure with locations on three continents and an efficient industry 4.0 production facility in China.” 

*Read more*

*Byton K-Byte electric saloon concept revealed​*

*Seven-seat Tesla Model Y revealed with 300-mile range​*

*The electric cars with the best real-world range​*

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