SANTA CLARA, California – Smart EV startup BYTON officially opened its North American headquarters here on December 1, less than three months after the brand was launched in Shanghai in September and about five weeks before it debuts its first drivable SUV prototype to the world at CES 2018 in Las Vegas on January 7.
Located at 4201 Burton Drive, Santa Clara, BYTON’s North American headquarters is in the heart of Silicon Valley, the world’s tech center, and is just a 10-minutes’ drive from both Google and Apple. Covering an area of 80,000 square feet, it has more than 120 employees, bringing together a number of leading talents in smart connected technology from across the world. Another 200 jobs are expected to be added over the next year and the opening marks further progress in the company’s strategic effort to establish a global presence.
The key focus of the office is developing cutting-edge technologies, including intelligent car user experience, autonomous driving, whole vehicle integration as well as developing and overseeing operations in the North American market. Since its inception more than a year ago in 2016, BYTON has made its global vision clear by establishing a strategic presence in China, Germany and the U.S. as the global digital transformation in the mobility sector comes of age. BYTON’s global operation center, manufacturing base and global R&D center are located in Nanjing, China. The R&D center responsible for the design of prototype and concept models is based in Munich, Germany. A strategic global presence in three key markets helps ensure the company’s access to a diverse pool of talent and other resources, as well as promote BYTON’s product development and launch.
BYTON used the occasion to introduce two new members to its executive team: Tom Wessner, Senior Vice President of Global Supply Chain, and Jeff Chung, Vice President of Intelligent Car Experience. Wessner, notably, was most recently Senior Vice President of Global Supply Chain at Faraday Future but resigned in early October.
“BYTON’s idea of marrying the automotive industry with digital technology is well in line with the development direction of technology as represented by Silicon Valley,” said Dr. Carsten Breitfeld, CEO & Co-Founder of BYTON. “Silicon Valley’s strength in technology and talent will provide powerful support for BYTON’s R&D endeavor in intelligent driving.”
“BYTON’s core management team combines the R&D and manufacturing experience of traditional premium car making with strengths in digital innovation and technology thanks to our group of talents in automotive design, engineering and manufacturing, electrical powertrain, smart connectivity, autonomous driving, intelligent car experience, supply chain management, marketing, and more,” said Dr. Daniel Kirchert, President and Co-Founder of BYTON. “This will serve as a critical guarantee for BYTON’s quality growth and development, and differentiation. The additions of Tom Wessner and Jeff Chung further boost BYTON’s technological strengths in innovative supply chain management and development of intelligent vehicle user experience.”
Wessner is a veteran supply chain expert with more than 30 years of experience in the auto industry. During his service with Tesla, he established the purchasing and quality functions capable of attracting global suppliers to fuel the rapid growth and success of the Tesla Model S sedan. His joining the BYTON team further enhances BYTON’s cost control capability during product development and production.
Chung is a seasoned global engineering executive and product development leader of innovative products and disruptive technologies in consumer electronics, imaging and networking. While working at Apple, he led system engineering teams in designing multiple Mac products. At BYTON, his engineering team will be dedicated to combining traditional car functions with digital technologies to deliver an intelligent car experience.
BYTON also used the occasion to announce it has entered into strategic partnerships with Bosch and Faurecia to jointly develop smart mobility solutions, thereby strengthening its global supply chain. It will mainly work with Bosch on powertrain and braking systems and with Faurecia on the development and design of advanced interior technologies that takes advantage of the latest technologies in EV architecture, connected user interface and autonomous driving features. The strong engineering and innovation capabilities in automotive parts development at Bosch and Faurecia are expected to power BYTON’s vision of changing the future of mobility through technological innovation.
BYTON is positioning its products as the “next generation of smart devices for shared mobility and autonomous driving,” and the all-new smart human-vehicle interface is a key feature. It includes a 49-inch by 10-inch large-size screen for shared experience, and a touch steering wheel as well as gesture recognition, facial recognition, and emotion recognition, among others, laying a foundation for truly shared and smart mobility and auto piloting.
BYTON plans to launch three models on the same platform in the next five years: an SUV, a sedan and an MPV. The first production SUV model, based on the prototype that will debut at CES 2018, will launch in the fourth quarter of 2019, while the sedan and MPV are scheduled to hit the market in 2021 and 2022, respectively. The SUV prototype will offer a smart, safe, enjoyable and eco-friendly driving experience with a groundbreaking design language and vehicle-to-vehicle communication system, showcasing BYTON’s innovative car building philosophy and technological capabilities.
BYTON aspires to build premium intelligent electric vehicles for the future. Its crafted cars integrate advanced digital technologies to offer customers a smart, safe, comfortable and eco-friendly driving and mobility experience. The name is derived from the phrase “Bytes on Wheels,” with “Bytes” representing the internet and “Wheels” symbolizing automobiles. The convergence of the two words epitomizes the seamless blending of digital technology and automobile manufacturing as well as the positioning of BYTON products as next-generation smart devices.
BYTON aims to create a premium brand rooted in China with a global reach. It also has offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong to handle external affairs, marketing, sales, design and investor relations.
BYTON’s core management team is made up of the world’s top experts from China, Europe and the U.S., all of whom have held senior management positions in such innovative companies as BMW, Tesla, Google and Apple. Their expertise covers automotive design, automotive engineering and manufacturing, electric powertrain, intelligent connectivity, autonomous driving, user interface and supply chain management among other industry sectors, the sum of which represents BYTON’s strengths in manufacturing premium automobiles that are equipped with high quality internet technologies.
BYTON, which was founded as Future Mobility Corp. (FMC), has completed its series A financing. Current shareholders include BYTON’s founding team, Harmony Auto, Aulton Investments, League Automotive Technologies, Legend Capital, an industrial investment fund in Jiangsu Province and Chengtun Group among other investors.