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Byton Begins Road Testing its M-Byte Prototype

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【Summary】Chinese Automaker Byton received a fair amount of attention when it showed off its new M-Byte vehicle at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. Now, Byton has announced its new vehicle is ready for real-world testing. The electric vehicle startup has started tests of its Byton M-Byte model on public roads in the Chinese city of Nanjing.

Derrick Smith    Aug 29, 2018 4:57 PM PT
Byton Begins Road Testing its M-Byte Prototype
author: Derrick Smith   

Chinese Automaker Byton received a fair amount of attention when it showed off its new M-Byte vehicle at this year's CES in Las Vegas. Now, Byton has announced its new vehicle is ready for real-world testing. The electric vehicle startup has started tests of its Byton M-Byte model on public roads in the Chinese city of Nanjing.

Byton's focus will be testing the vehicle's reliability in various driving environments. An additional ten vehicles will be shipped to the U.S. for similar testing on public roads.

The Chinese electric-vehicle startup said production of its M-Byte is schedule to begin in the fall of 2019. The company combined resources from facilities in Europe, the U.S. and China which contributed to the rapid development of the M-Byte.

One of the M-Byte's most unique features is a 49 inch panoramic touchscreen dashboard, which Byton calls a "shared experience display". The customizable display allows the driver or front-seat passenger to configure the view with various entertainment options. The M-Byte also features voice recognition, touch control, gesture control and facial recognition.

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Byton's Shared Experiance Display

Byton says the M-Byte will be capable of autonomous driving. However, the early production models will come with level 3 autonomy, meaning a human driver is required to take control in certain situations.

Future models can be upgraded level 4 autonomy via an over-the-air software update. A level 4 autonomous vehicle is considered a true self-driving vehicle and does not require human intervention.

Byton's autonomous technology is being developed by Silicon Valley autonomous driving startup Aurora, a company co-founded by Chris Urmson. Urmson is well known as the founder of Google's early self-driving car project, now known as Waymo.

Byton plans to produce another 100 prototypes of the M-Byte by the end of 2018.

Byton said the M-Byte will start at $45,000, well below the Tesla Model X. The vehicle will come with a 71-KWh battery pack, offering a range of 249 miles with rear wheel drive. The 71-kwh pack will provide an estimated range of 249 miles and will power the vehicle's electric powertrain delivering 250 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

A higher priced version will includes a 90-kwH pack for a range of 325 miles.

A production version of the M Byte is targeted for the end of 2019 for customers in China, followed by the U.S. and Europe by the middle of 2020.

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