Remember Byton? The new EV startup that insists it’ll sell ‘smart devices’, not cars? Well, here’s the firm’s first ca… err, smart device. Nope, still sounds weird.
Putting the marketing nonsense aside though, we’re quite intrigued by what the Chinese startup has come up with. Under the leadership of former BMW i Division chief Carsten Breitfield, Byton - which has facilities in Nanjing, Munich and Santa Clara - has cooked up a mega tech-fest EV.
It’s a crossover (because of course it is), which has been imaginatively named the ‘Crossover Concept’. Revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it’s not exactly inspiring to look at from the outside, but that’s just fine, as all the action’s going on in the cabin.
With a 49-inch display that spans almost the entire width of the dashboard - plus an additional screen in the steering wheel and two more up back for the rear passengers - it’d only need Chris Pine and/or Zachary Quinto sitting in its sumptuous seats to pass for a Star Trek reboot film set. You don’t need to worry about the futuristic space being toned down for the production version, either: that vast screen will be carried over.
Said production car will be here in 2019, with a starting price of around $45,000, Byton claims. You’ll have the choice of a rear-wheel drive model producing 268bhp and 295lb ft of torque, and a dual-motor, all-wheel drive version making 469bhp and 524lb ft of twist. For an EV startup, those are some relatively restrained figures. The standard range is 248 miles meanwhile, with up to 323 miles available via an optional, beefed-up battery pack.
Because unlocking a car with a remote is just too old fashioned, the Byton concept is accessed via facial recognition. There are further facial recognition cameras inside, so the vehicle load up the preferred settings (think climate control, seating position and so on) for each occupant.