How things have changed over the years at CES. Byton, the young Chinese car manufacturer, was among the first to open the press conference ball at CES 2019. This is an opportunity to discover the interior of its M-Byte SUV, whose sales should start at the end of the year in China and to showcase its ambitions. And one thing is for sure. Tesla's rival is getting more and more impressive!
Byton loves the Consumer Electronic Show, and you feel that love returned when you see the success of his press conference. The upcoming Chinese manufacturer unveiled the almost final version of the dashboard for the interior of its next vehicles, including its future M-Byte SUV. A presentation that certainly created some wow effects.
A futuristic interior with a 48-inch screen inside
We already knew the modern and elegant lines of the M-Byte. The rotating front seats that can move 12 degrees inwards when the vehicle is stationary to facilitate communication between passengers were already known. We now know the M-Byte's almost definitive interior, so this year Byton decided to review the interior of his vehicle again. And contrary to what one might think, the manufacturer has not removed but added a new screen. In total, there are 5 screens in the cabin, all with a diagonal measurement of at least 7 inches.
And of course, it was the 48-inch front center giant screen that caught the most attention. It extends along the windshield creating an impression of total modernity and even relaying the interior of the Tesla to something obsolete. Byton added another 8-inch touch screen in the center of the console and kept two screens in the rear for passengers. However, the manufacturer has revised its copy on the size of the screen that is positioned in the middle of the steering wheel, from 8 to 7 inches, while adding hard buttons.
All these screens did not make you forget safety, however, and Byton equipped his vehicle with a driver monitoring system to avoid any distractions. It remains to be seen how the latter will work and to what extent it will be implemented.
A modern and practical user interface
As Benoit Jacob, the brand's Vice President of Design, who worked for Renault, Volkswagen and BMW, explained to me after the press conference, "the goal is not to reinvent or create a new user interface but to improve what we know and to take over, for example, elements that have proven their worth." That's why Byton added hard buttons around the steering wheel screen and left the traditional indicator or window test controls on the sides.
"We also designed the user interface in such a way that you are a millennial or someone older or less used to it feels comfortable. Benoit Jacob reminds us: "We must create an interface that is able to manage different cultures, different preferences, different levels of education as well. So we're trying to make a product that's not polarizing but rather universal."
This may be the first time that a car is not designed for the next 7 years from the design stage
An interface that will be updated gradually according to customer usage and that will benefit from new features. "The new standard is adaptation. What is really new is that this is perhaps the first time that a car is not designed for the next 7 years from the design stage. There may be cases of use where we don't know at all. There are probably some situations that we are far from imagining today."
Finally, like any modern interface, the M-Byte is compatible with Alexa, Amazon's voice assistant. The car is also able to recognize the voices of different users or to recognize the driver's face when starting.
A growing company
Created in 2016, the stat-up of the automobile is developing at high speed. The company, which has seen its workforce triple in one year, now has 1500 employees. A necessary strategy given the tight schedule of the car manufacturer. The first commercial releases are rapidly approaching, at least in China.
Production and sales are expected to start by the end of 2019. The United States will follow and then Europe will follow. "About 18 months later," Jacob explains. Two fully electric models of the M-Byte will be available at launch. The entry model will offer 400 kilometres of range and will be available from $45,000 (about €40,000) while the second will offer up to 515 kilometres with a single charge.In 2021, the K-Byte, a classic sedan, is expected to follow before a third model in 2023 (a SUV with seats).
Did you know Byton? Would you like to see the Chinese manufacturer arrive in our countries?