I’m known for being a Tesla fanboy, and I’m guilty as charged, but I do get excited about other electric cars (and to be honest, I still like gas cars too — I just like cars a lot). The reason I don’t write about non-Tesla cars much is that I live in Florida and California gets most of the cool cars, like the Hyundai Kona EV and Honda Clarity PHEV, which I’d like to test drive and write about but can’t. That’s why I’m excited to tell you about this interesting (but way too short) video on the Byton M-Byte.
The M-Byte uses batteries from CATL, one of the largest battery manufacturers in the world, and since CATL is an investor in only one car company (Byton), I don’t think it will leave the company starving for batteries like many manufacturers are when they have a hit on their hands. Although I plan to buy a Tesla Model Y, if this car comes through as good as it sounds, I might buy one as a second car. It is much more appealing to me than the Audi, Jaguar, BMW, and Mercedes electric vehicles I’ve seen, because they are all starting at $65,000 and above whereas the M-Byte starts at $45,000! I found out that it comes in two battery sizes, 71 kWh and 91 kWh, so unless it is inefficient, those options should offer be over 200 and over 300 miles of range.
In watching the video and doing a little background research, I found Byton claims to have over a 100 prototypes testing around the world, including a dozen in the US. Alex mentioned that they just came back from testing the cars in the extreme heat of Death Valley and the car passed with shining colors.
We cover how fast Tesla is building its Gigafactory in China, but Alex mentioned Byton has also built a factory in a short amount of time and it is preparing to start production of the M-Byte in a few months, before the end of 2019! The car reminds me of a Lexus or Honda midsized SUV.
Alex likes the acceleration and describes the ride as very luxurious. He was impressed that it had a very short turning radius. He did one acceleration test that showed him accelerating from zero to 80 mph in about 5 seconds. It looks like he was having a lot of fun taking it off road in the grassy lot! Watch the short 11 minute video yourself here.
The one thing that disappointed me was that Alex (who has of course driven many electric and non electric cars) didn’t compare it to any of the other cars he has driven. For more Byton coverage, see our other articles on the automaker.
Will this car hurt Tesla Model Y sales? A little, but both the Model Y and M-Byte are aimed at the mainstream and luxury gas crossovers and SUVs that sell like hotcakes. This isn’t a “Tesla killer” (many people will want the Tesla-promised autonomy or Supercharger network), but many people may want a great midsized SUV that has a huge screen and may be priced more aggressively since it will still be eligible for the full $7,500 tax credit in the US. Or they may want something from a brand new company that is more exclusive/limited.
See more images of the M-Byte Concept (which looks to be very close to production), including its stunning 40 inch “Shared Experience” display.
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