Crossover Concept from Chinese start-up previewed final model; it has a 469bhp powertrain, 323-mile range and dashboard-filling display screen
James Attwood, digital editor
6 February 2018

Chinese electric car start-up Byton has confirmed it is working with driverless car tech company Aurora on level 4 autonomy for its first SUV - meaning it will be able to drive itself without any human input.

Byton, which is run by ex-BMW I boss Carsten Breitfeld, joins Volkswagen and Hyundai as a car brand to team up with Aurora to speed up development of its tech. Aurora is headed by Google's former autonomous driving boss, Chris Urmson, and several pioneers of the autonomous car industry.

Why Volkswagen, Hyundai and Byton are teaming up with a self-driving start-up firm

Byton said its SUV will feature driver assistance systems based around Aurora's suite of hardware, including cameras, ultrasonic sensors, radar and laser scanners. It has been designed so that components can be upgraded as technology develops. The vehicle architecture is designed for 5G mobile data connection, with speeds of up to 10GB per second.

Byton previewed its SUV model in a concept at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It is a premium full-electric SUV that the first describes as being “almost production ready.” The firm has cited a range of up to 323 miles for the Concept, which is due to enter production in 2019 and cost around £33,200 (US $45,000).

CES 2018: concepts cars and automotive news from the Consumer Electronics Show

The Byton will be available in two powertrain configurations, with either a single 268bhp electric motor driving the rear axle that produces 295lb ft of torque, or a four-wheel-drive version with motors driving each axle. The two motors in the 4WD version combine for 469bhp and 524lb ft of torque. 

Power will be stored in modular lithium ion batteries that form part of the vehicle chassis. While Byton hasn’t revealed the capacity of the batteries, it says the Concept will have a range of 248 miles, increasing to 323 miles with an upgraded battery pack.

Insight: why demand from China is spurring growth of electric car sales 

The Byton Concept is 4850mm long, 1940mm wide and 1650mm high, and runs on 22inch wheels. At the front of the car, slim LED headlights top what Byton refers 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 1250mm by 250mm ‘Shared Experience Display’ that fills the dashboard. It is comprised of three panels, which can be customised. It is also used to show images from three rear-facing cameras: two take the place of the wing mirrors, with a third mounted in the car’s rear. The brightness and background colour of the display adjust automatically to suit lighting conditions.

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 8in Driver Tablet integrated into the steering wheel. The edges of the display feature buttons for the drive selectors, indicators and infotainment volume.

Each seat features a facial recognition camera that will identify the user and allow personalised settings to be transferred to any seat. The front seats can swivel by 12 degrees. The SUV is due to go into production in 2019, and Byton president Daniel Kirchert has said that a saloon car and MPV, based on the same platform, will follow soon after. 

Read more

CES 2018: concepts cars and automotive news from the Consumer Electronics Show

Insight: why demand from China is spurring growth of electric car sales 

Changan is coming: another Chinese firm aiming for European success

Join the debate


8 January 2018

That will be fun to take on a long night time drive! The screens will drive you mad, mind you Mercedes are doing something as bad...

8 January 2018

I am sure like Saab did decades ago be able to switch of what you don’t need, ie, just have a speedo.

Peter Cavellini.

8 January 2018
Peter Cavellini wrote:

I am sure like Saab did decades ago be able to switch of what you don’t need, ie, just have a speedo.

My Citreon C4 (the one that has just been discontinued) had a button for that. I used it all the time. I have a Renault Scenic now (Company Car), the the TomTom sat Nav screen does not adjust its brightness in line with the rest of the dash, which is a real bigbear of mine. I hate having such bright lighting at night.

6 February 2018

I cannot work out whether Autocar is excited by this stuff, or resigned to it.


Personally I hate it all, but they write with a complete lack any passion, secpticism or curiosity in either direction.


Autocar -  this is your lifeblood.  What do you think? 


Journalsim isn't the same as quoting press releases.


And why have you written the gassed monkeys out of history?

6 February 2018

Blimey thats quite attractive

Hope they keep the way it looks an have decent build quality

6 February 2018

"it will be able to drive itself without any human input."

Don't we even get to tell it where to go?

Can't wait for the next generation with a built-in wheelchair with level 6 autonomy so, having arrived at your destination, you don't have the hassle of walking.

6 February 2018

The “shard experience “ typo. That’s probably what would happen in a smash that brought your face in contact with that screen.

Relying on 5G mobile data won’t get this car very far in Australia. We don’t even have 4G for than a few k’s outside cities and neither does the UK, as I discovered on a recent trip to the frozen north.

But, not to worry. If facial recognition works as well as it does on iPhone X, nobody will be able to get in anyway.


Aussie Rob - a view from down under

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