Byton’s sedan concept premieres ahead of CES Asia debut
In June Byton unveiled its premium sedan concept in Shanghai during an event that showcased the brand’s design vision. Called the K-Byte Concept, the three-box sedan is another company concept designed for autonomous driving.
One of the primary focuses here is on the car’s integrated and retractable sensors, which the company says make it a trend-setter in defining the new aesthetics of autonomous driving. A more slender than typical module on the rooftop house the bow-shaped LiBow system that integrates front and rear LiDAR sensors to allow for a full-view panoramic scan of the vehicle’s surroundings. A retractable LiGuards side LiDAR system below the side-view cameras deploys in autonomous driving mode and retracts automatically during parking maneuvers. These LiDARs can all be illuminated for a range of specific purposes including signaling pedestrians.
Other interesting K-Byte body design details are the C-pillar design takes its inspiration from architectural buttresses while delivering improved aerodynamic performance. The windows and sunroof are larger to emphasize safety while creating a greenhouse enabling drivers and passengers to more fully enjoy the outside world. The car gets upgraded “smart surfaces” in front echoed in the rear, a layout of light strips creating deep three-dimensional visuals.
The new concept debuts the company’s new product-naming strategy based on the computer term "Byte" to label its planned series of three products that are built on a shared platform. In addition to the K-Byte Concept, the SUV it previously showed at CES 2018 has been named the M-Byte Concept.
“By adopting this naming strategy, BYTON celebrates our brand DNA as a next-generation smart device," said Dr. Carsten Breitfeld, CEO and Co-founder, Byton.
“The K-Byte Concept shows that we can deliver our platform in different shapes and with different features to suit different lifestyles,” added Dr. Daniel Kirchert, President and Co-founder. “Furthermore, building the car on the same platform as the M-Byte Concept enables us to streamline and scale the production cycle. We are fully confident that we will meet our commitment to deliver the sedan to market in 2021.”
Helping to meet its autonomous technology and timing goals is Byton’s recently announced partnership with Aurora to develop a solution for Level 4 automated driving, where the car can operate without human input or oversight under specific select conditions. By the end of 2020, the two companies will have a fleet of prototype vehicles with Level-4 autonomous driving capabilities ready for testing, in preparation for Level-4-ready mass production and delivery. Byton expects the partnership will enable it to become among the very first group of carmakers to bring Level 4 and eventually Level 5 cars to market.
"We are excited to partner with Byton, an innovator in the electric vehicle industry, to further advance our goal of delivering self-driving vehicles quickly, broadly and safely,” said Chris Urmson, CEO at Aurora, in conjunction with the February partnership announcement. “We look forward to piloting this technology in California."
The M-Byte production electric SUV will begin rolling off the production line in China and sold in that market in 2019, and in 2020 it will also be available in the U.S. and Europe. The target base price of that first Byton is $45,000. This will be followed by the K-Byte sports sedan in 2021 and an as-yet unnamed seven-seat MPV will complete the first Byton premium model family in 2022.
In January Byton said its production car will have two range options: a rear-wheel-drive model with a 71-kW·h battery pack and a driving range of 400 km (249 mi) and a four-wheel drive model with a 95 kW·h battery pack and a driving range up to 520 km (323 mi). In fast-charge mode, 80% of the battery will be recharged in just 30 min. There will be two power options: 200 kW and 400 N·m for the single-motor rear-wheel-drive model and 350 kW and 710 N·m for the dual-motor four-wheel-drive model.