Sure, everyone’s noticed the massive display in the new Byton M-Byte electric vehicle from China by now, but all that glitz has some serious minds behind it
Seven, man. Seven’s the number. Nobody ever heard of six-minute abs. Which is why you get seven iPads worth of screen in the 2020 Byton M-Byte.
Just revealed at CES 2019, the annual tech drool-fest in Las Vegas, this all-electric vehicle comes from a Chinese startup that isn’t messing around – the man at the top is former BMW vice president Carsten Breitfeld and his claim to fame was heading a little project called the BMW i8… Furthermore the finances are overseen by an ex-Ford man and the logistics of sourcing parts and managing the supply network is the responsibility of the guy who set up Tesla’s operation back in 2009.
In fact the roster is full of MVPs, including Benoit Jacob, who used to be vice president of design at BMW. You’ve probably seen the M1 Hommage – that was Jacob’s handiwork, and earlier in his career with Renault the Frenchman gave the world the delectable Sport Spider. Working with him in the styling department is also Wolfram Luchner who had a hand in the Audi R15 TDI Le Mans racer.
Byton is already announcing two models for sale this year in the company’s home market before they start exporting to Europe and the US in 2020. With a range of 400km the base model will start from around $45,000 in China, but customers will be able to pay extra for variants that can do more than 500km on a full charge.
There will be a four-door saloon called the K-Byte on offer alongside the SUV, however the M-Byte crossover is expected to head sales – the concept on show in Las Vegas impressed if only for the amount of pixel real estate you get inside the cabin.
The Byton M-Byte features a dash that makes Tesla’s 17-inch screen look puny. How does a 48-inch display sound? Like everyone else is noticing, that’s more than seven iPads lined up side by side.
Despite the headline grabbing hardware it would be wrong to think this brand is all about the show, because the roster keeps getting better. Byton also has David Twohig as chief vehicle engineer to make sure the cars handle well, and Twohig should know a thing or two about handling seeing as he engineered the latest Alpine A110 mid-engined sports car that’s pretty much universally lauded.