Byton K-Byte Concept is an autonomous electric sedan

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In January, China-based EV startup Byton showed off its first concept car, an SUV designed for Level 4 autonomy, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The company also said it would follow the launch of that SUV — which it intends to sell in the U.S. — with a , and later a minivan. Yesterday, announced it has raised half a billion dollars in a funding round, and opened its global headquarters in Nanjing, China. Today, the company has unveiled its second , an electric sedan called K-Byte.

With technology from its partner, driving technology firm Aurora, the K-Byte will be capable of Level 4 autonomous driving, meaning it can operate without human input or oversight in certain conditions. The hardware for autonomous driving is integrated into the visual design of the K-Byte Concept. The “LiBow” system on the roof incorporates front and rear lidar for a panoramic view of the car’s surroundings. “LiGuard” side lidars deploy from beneath the side mirrors in autonomous mode, and retract when parking. They can also illuminate to get the attention of other humans. Byton also included “smart surfaces” on the concept car’s fascia, with light strips creating 3D visuals.

Byton has created a “Byte” naming system, and has now applied the name “M-Byte” the SUV it unveiled in January. “By adopting this naming strategy, Byton celebrates our brand DNA as a next-generation smart device,” said Byton CEO Dr. Carsten Breitfeld. “Following from our first model, the Byton M-Byte Concept, the K-Byte Concept represents a breakthrough in the design of smart connected vehicles. It changes the design language of traditional cars, delivering a perfect blend of elegance, style, luxury, and sportiness, and introducing new design aesthetics in the age of shared mobility and autonomous driving.”

Byton didn’t detail powertrain details for the K-Byte, but notes that it shares the same electric vehicle platform as the M-Byte. That SUV, Byton said, will be offered with two different powertrains. A rear-drive version will use a single electric motor providing 268 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, with a 71-kWh battery offering 248.5 miles of range. An all-wheel-drive, dual-motor version will produce 469 horsepower and 523 pound-feet of torque, with a 95-kWh battery good for 323 miles on a charge.

Byton plans to have working prototypes of the K-Byte sedan testing on roads by the end of 2020. Byton expects to begin deliveries in 2021. M-Byte SUV ales are targeted for late 2019.

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