SHANGHAI – Future Mobility Corp. Ltd. (FMC), a Chinese smart EV startup with backing from Tencent and Harmony Auto, launched its brand – BYTON – and details of its first SUV and production plans at an event here on September 7.
BYTON, short for bytes on wheels, represents an integration of the internet/digital technology with the traditional automobile. Its first model, a mid-size fully electric SUV, will be a three-in-one: a smart internet communicator, a living room and a fully electric car resulting in a smart device on wheels, according to Carsten Breitfeld, CEO and co-founder of FMC.
The SUV will have a size of an Audi Q5 but the space of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and is equipped with a 1.25-m wide LCD screen across the width of the front windshield with gesture control capabilities, as well as a screen in the center of the steering wheel for easy access to functions. The model will be offered in 300-km or 500-km versions eventual capable of Level 5 autonomous driving.
The Concept version of the SUV will make its world premiere at CES 2018 on January 7 in Las Vegas and go into production by the end of 2019 at a smart EV industrial park that broke ground on September 8 in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province with an annual output capacity of 300,000 units.
A sedan and an MPV are expected to follow in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
FMC, co-founded by Dr. Daniel Kirchert, a China hand who has been in China for nearly 20 years with previous experiences at BMW and Infiniti China operations, is still waiting for government approval to produce EVs.