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Chinese electric vehicle startup Byton has revealed an electric SUV concept at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Called the Byton Concept, the electric SUV will go into production in late 2019 with prices starting at $45,000 (Rs 28.5 lakhs).
Regarding performance, the Byton Concept's figures won't cause Elon Musk and Tesla to go back to the drawing board with the base single-motor model of the Chinese electric SUV kicking out 272bhp. The high-performance model of the Byton concept uses two motors which produce 476bhp.
The base model of the Byton concept returns a range of 400 kilometres (250 miles) on a single charge. The high-performance variant ups the range to 520km (325 miles) thanks to a more substantial 95kWh battery (up by 24kWh compared to the base model).
Byton claims the concept SUV can extend its range by 240km (150miles) in just 20 minutes of charging. In an additional 10 minutes (total charging time - 30 mins) the Byton will replenish 80 percent of its battery capacity.
The Byton Concept's silhouette looks somewhat similar to Faraday Future's FF91 SUV. However, unlike the FF's SUV, the exterior looks more production ready thanks to the more conventional front and rear design which looks similar to the ones seen on traditional SUVs currently on sale.
However, both the front and rear ends feature LED lighting flares on panels situated underneath the headlights and taillights, which helps the Byton stand out from its Chinese EV siblings. Another rather interesting feature is the lack of rear view mirrors on the side which have been replaced by cameras.
However, the interior of the Byton is where the concept SUV takes things to a whole new level. The Byton Concept features facial recognition which on identifying the driver adjusts the seats and other features as per his or her personal choice.
Taking centre stage inside the Byton Concept's is the massive display which stretches across the length of the dashboard. Measuring 1250mm by 250mm, the display allows both the driver and passenger to customise their respective zones. The display can be controlled using touch or gesture inputs along with Amazon's Alexa's voice assistant.
The driver also gets an additional 8.0-inch display that sits flush in the centre of the steering wheel. Meanwhile, those seated in the two rear seats get a widescreen display each both of which get facial recognition and gesture controls.
The production model of the Byton Concept which will hit the streets in 2019, will feature Level 3 autonomy. When driving on its own or stationary, the front seats of the Byton concept can swivel and face the rear.
Byton claims that its EVs (a sedan based on the concept's modular platform is expected to arrive later) will get updates in the form of both software and hardware which allow for Level 4 autonomous driving in 2020.
The Byton Concept sees yet another Chinese startup try to enter the EV game. While the Byton Concept has been priced quite well for an electric SUV (compared to a Tesla Model X), and the carmaker has a production facility under construction in China to build the EV, the lack of any charging infrastructure could prove to a big stumbling block for buyers.