China’s Future Mobility has started a new brand with bold promises to revolutionise the car

Chinese electric car start-up Future Mobility (FMC) has launched a car company called Byton, with ex-BMW i boss Carsten Breitfeld at its helm.

The new brand will reveal its first car, a mid-sized SUV, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas later in January, before it enters production in 2019.

Breitfeld, who joined FMC in July 2016 after four years as vice-president of engineering at BMW's i division, will oversee the car’s development as Byton’s CEO.

FMC president Daniel Kirchert said at Byton’s launch this week that the SUV, which is similar in size to an Audi Q5, will boast cabin space to rival a Mercedes S-Class.

It will come with an extensive list of infotainment features, including a 1250mm by 250mm touchscreen featuring menus that are interactive for both driver and passengers.

This will be accompanied by a tablet that mounts to the steering wheel and can be used to control car functions.

Kirchert said the car would be capable of a 350km (217 miles) range in standard form, with a 500km (311 miles) version also available. He revealed that 10min of charging will give 120km (76 miles) of range.

Byton plans to equip the car with hardware capable of enabling autonomous driving up to Level 5, where the driver can completely hand over control. But the SUV won’t necessarily be fully autonomous at launch, instead requiring over-the-air updates to boost its ability as technology improves.

This is a technique currently employed by Tesla, which is already equipping all of its cars with autonomous hardware. It will be upgrading the software over time with the ambition of moving all of its cars closer to becoming fully autonomous.

Following the launch of Byton’s SUV, a saloon is planned to go on sale from 2021, before a seven-seat MPV joins the line-up in 2022.

FMC is building a production plant in Nanjing, China, which will be capable of producing 100,000 units per year from 2019. When it is fully completed, the site is predicted to be capable of a 300,000-unit output per annum.

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Comments
5

14 September 2017

Startup like this and also Tesla love touch screens because engineering things like buttons are difficult for new car makers. But touch screens are necessarily the best way to go for the end user. Which is why I think it's only a matter of time before established car makers win the electric race.

14 September 2017

I agree with you, but established makers love touch screens also - no doubt for reasons of cost. They are unsuited for use while driving.

4 January 2018
TStag wrote:

Startup like this and also Tesla love touch screens because engineering things like buttons are difficult for new car makers.

YEP building a car from scratch to production runs of 100,000+ a year, building large 5 seater cars capable of 250 miles and 0-60 times of 2.8 secs, gull wing doors, being 8 years ahead of BMW etc., all these things are easy compared to "engineering things like buttons", yes screens make it easier and cheaper but buttons aren't that much of an engineering marvel.

And yes Tesla might struggle in 5 years time, but it won't be because of buttons.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

4 January 2018

The cost of buying the Car in the first place, these type of Cars don’t start at £30K, they’re Porsche money, not many of us can afford them at this price point, so it’s future generations that will reap the benefits, what about now?, the next five years for instance?

Peter Cavellini.

4 January 2018

Don't start at 30k, you're right the Leaf starts at £22k in the UK. The Bolt $33k and selling 3,500 a month in the US alone. Porsche performance starts at Porsche price, fair enough. Besides who cares about sub 4.0 to 60 SUV's? 

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

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