China EV startup Byton readies sedan, eyes U.S. launch


The K-Byte sedan has a roof-mounted module housing lidar that delivers a panoramic view. Photo credit: AUTOMOTIVE NEWS ILLUSTRATION

SHANGHAI — Byton, a Chinese EV startup that wants to sell cars stateside from 2020, previewed its first sedan in a futuristic concept car that promises Level 4 autonomous driving within three years and a range around 400 kilometers (250 miles).

The budding brand has also decided on a nameplate nomenclature across its lineup.

The upcoming sedan will be the K-Byte. Byton’s first crossover, based on the concept unveiled in January at CES in Las Vegas, will be called the M-Byte.

Why byte? Because it embodies the brand name, which is short for “bytes on wheels” in a nod to the ambition of developing a next-generation smart device, not just an automobile.

Byton CEO Carsten Breitfeld unveiled the K-Byte Concept on June 12 ahead of the CES Asia trade show in China. Byton aims to start selling the sedan in China in 2021 and in the U.S. shortly thereafter. The M-Byte crossover is scheduled to hit the Chinese market in 2019 and land stateside in 2020. Both vehicles will be manufactured at the company’s first assembly plant, which is being built on the outskirts of Nanjing, west of Shanghai.

The third vehicle in the emerging lineup could be a multipurpose vehicle, Breitfeld said.

“We want to create a next-generation smart device,” he said.

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