In Brief

CES 2018: all-electric Byton SUV set to rival Tesla’s Model X

Chinese vehicle start-up has former BMW and Apple employees on design team

Chinese electric vehicle start-up Byton has taken the wraps off its first concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. 

The company has recruited the former head of BMW’s electric car division, Carsten Breitfeld, along with ex-Apple Mac designer Jeff Chung, to design the electrified SUV concept, reports BBC News

According to Autocar, Byton’s concept is being positioned as a “premium” SUV and is packed with interior technology, including a dashboard-wide touchscreen control panel with several customisable options.  

The large screen, which comprises three connected panels, can be controlled using hand gestures or through a smartphone companion app, the magazine says. 

The Byton concept comes with level 3 driverless systems, says Digital Trends, meaning the car can monitor other vehicles on the road and react to situations without a driver’s input.

And it carries the necessary hardware to be upgraded to level 4 autonomy, which can handle more complex tasks such as indicating, braking and steering, the website adds. 

TechRadar says the SUV will be in close competition with Tesla’s Model X SUV. The concept’s battery range of 250 miles on a single charge is just 45 miles shy of its rival. A range-topping variant with a 323-mile battery will also be on offer. 

Although the base model’s battery range doesn’t quite match the Model X, the website says, the concept’s $45,000 (£33,000) price tag is around half that of Tesla’s SUV. 

Byton is expected to put its electric SUV into production in 2019, says Autocar, with sales kicking off in China the same year. The company then plans to enter the US market in 2020.

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