China’s Future Mobility has started a new brand with bold promises to revolutionise the car
Sam Sheehan
14 September 2017

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 in January 2018, 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.

More content:

How to buy a used EV

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

Our Verdict

Hyundai i20

The second-generation Hyundai i20 is a very spacious, well-kitted and keenly priced addition to the competitive supermini segment, but is ultimately let down by its weak engines

Join the debate

Comments
2

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.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK