New Byton electric crossover set to take on Tesla

Car companies at a tech show? You better believe it. With the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicking off in Las Vegas this week, more car firms than ever are showing off the latest in autonomous driving tech and eco powertrains.

One such manufacturer is Byton. You’ve probably never heard of Byton, but it’s a Chinese start-up with big ambitions to take on Tesla with its electric vehicles of the future.

Its first car, known only as ‘the Concept’ (Byton takes its name from Bytes on Wheels, if you were wondering), looks to us like a Chinese take on the Range Rover Velar (with a bit of DS thrown in). But it’s inside where the Byton really stands out from the crowd.

There’s a huge 48-inch wide display along the dash, while Amazon Alexa provides hands-free voice control. The display, which is intended to be used by passengers as well as the driver, automatically adjusts its brightness to reduce glare during night-time driving. The steering wheel houses a tablet computer, while passengers in the rear also get their own screens.

The entry-level rear-wheel-drive Byton is powered by a 71kWh battery producing 200kW (268hp) and a range of 250 miles. There’s also a more powerful 4×4 version using a 95kWh battery powering two motors providing 350kW (469hp) and a range of 325 miles.

At launch, the SUV will feature Level 3 autonomy with plans to upgrade to Level 4 using a software update in 2020.

The production model will go on sale in 2019, says Byton, while a saloon and MPV will follow using the same platform.

Prices are yet to be confirmed, but $45,000 has been mooted in the US. That’s around £33,000, but expect it to be pricier if it ever makes it to the UK.

In pictures: Byton Concept SUV

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