The vehicle you see above is called the Byton M-Byte, and it is, apparently, an electric SUV. Personally, I had never heard of this thing until I saw it for the first time last week at Monterey Car Week, but when I did see it, I was truly impressed. Tesla? Tesla who?
Here’s how this went down: I was walking along, somewhere in Pebble Beach, and I approached the car you see above. I was struck by the fact that it’s surprisingly gorgeous, unlike virtually every other concept car, which looks like it’s designed specifically to get so many negative reactions that the car goes viral for its absurdity, and thus people learn to appreciate the brand’s production cars.
So I walked up to this thing, and I learned that it’s called the Byton M-Byte, which is of course very stupid, but nonetheless I was intrigued by its design. It’s gorgeous, handsome, clean, simple and well-proportioned, and it’s precisely the electric luxury SUV I’d love to get for a family car. I looked closer and I was shocked to discover what might just be the crowning achievement: a 49-inch center screen that runs the entire width of the dashboard. There’s also a screen on the steering wheel. I’m not sure how realistic this all is, but it’s surprisingly well-executed.
The powertrain is also appealing. According to Byton, which is a Chinese brand, the M-Byte can travel up to 325 miles on electric power alone — a huge range that’s scarcely equaled in the business. That, apparently, is the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive version, which has 469 horsepower and 523 lb-ft of torque, but even the base model, with 270 hp and 300 lb-ft, can go nearly 250 miles on a single charge.
Of course, all this still remains to be proven. The M-Byte is, for now, just a "concept," with sales supposedly planned to start in late 2019, while a sedan version (the "K-Byte") is supposedly coming in 2020 or 2021. I’ll believe it when I see it, but if it actually comes to market looking anything like it did when I saw it last week, I’ll say it’s surprisingly promising.