By on January 3, 2018

Even though automotive trade shows are becoming more tech-focused, its still a difficult environment for a fledgling carmaker to break into. That’s one reason the Consumer Electronics Show, now just called “CES,” has hosted so many Chinese startups these last few years. One of the newest is the e-car manufacturer Byton, formerly known as Future Mobility.

While Byton sounds more like the name of a vehicle than a brand — especially since it was, two months earlier — it’s infinitely better than mashing two of the auto industry’s most-popular buzzwords together and pretending it means something. The company was also wise to get away from any moniker that might allow the public to confuse it with Faraday Future.

However, adopting the name of its singular model means Byton had to come up with something new for the vehicle scheduled to make its world debut at CES next week. Now dubbed the SIV (smart intuitive vehicle), the Chinese-brand is promising a “next generation smart device” that is “uniquely built for the coming era of truly shared, smart mobility and autonomous driving.” 

It certainly sounds like Byton is prepared to deliver some future mobility, but we’ve been burned before by tech-heavy cars arriving at CES. What does all of that marketing jargon mean?

For starters, the company promises the SIV will have a curved touchscreen spanning the entire length of the dashboard, with a secondary screen housed inside the steering wheel. That seems like overkill, but it would set it apart from other vehicles and allow passengers to watch Ben-Hur in its original ludicrously wide-aspect ratio of 2:76:1. However, other applications that would necessitate such a broad screen are difficult to imagine.

This is doubly true since drivers won’t actually need to handle the touchscreen. According to Byton, the SIV will come equipped with an array of interior sensors that allow drivers to use hand gestures to control the vehicle. While we’d prefer to reserve a few for expressing our feelings to other drivers, it might be interesting to toss out a pinky to indicate a left turn.

Other showoff tech goodies include a cloud platform that connects occupants’ smartphone apps and data. Byton also stated that the car uses facial recognition to allow for “intuitive access.” Although, as this is all pre-production, we may never see any of the technology. Hell, we may never even see the car.

Powering the SIV are a pair of electric motors: a 201-horsepower unit in the front and a 268-hp e-mill at the rear. The standard model is said to be equipped with a 71-kWh battery, but Byton claims a 95-kWh unit should be available as an option. The alleged range for the 71-kWh power-pack is 200 miles and the larger unit is supposedly good for an additional 110 miles.

Further details will be announced next week, when the Byton SIV debuts at CES 2018 on January 7th. Production is said to begin in China next year, though the firm fully intends to bring it Europe and the United States in 2020.

[Images: Byton]

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3 Comments on “Chinese Startup Byton Teases Electric ‘SIV’ Ahead of CES Debut...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “…truly shared, smart mobility and autonomous driving”

    No, maybe, and no.

    But it has a display in front of the driver, so it beats the Model 3 in that regard.

  • avatar

    Anyone else think of Simian Immunodeficiency Virus?

    • 0 avatar

      They’re just calling it that while they figure out what happens to the test monkey when the airbag deploys from under the steering wheel touchscreen.
      The final model for consumers will be the Byton HIV. So you are definitely on the right track.

      (The 2-seater commuter version will be called the “Byton This!”).

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