In a bit of good news for a world that’s wondering when it might, hopefully, return to normal in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, another electric car factory is re-opening its doors in China. What’s more, this one is building something we can all get excited about. That’s because production for the all-electric and terribly pretty Byton M-Byte crossover has officially begun. And as promised — Byton has kept the massive, 48″ infotainment display!
CleanTechnica first covered the company’s sprawling Nanjing manufacturing facility last year. At the time, “Byton made it clear it wanted to have complete control over the high level of quality it was aiming for,” wrote Nicholas Zart, after meeting with Mark Duchesne, Vice President of Manufacturing Operations at Byton, at the Frankfurt Auto Show in November.
Duchesne understands that the Byton might be a tough sell, and he is pressing hard to retire the negative “Chinese quality” stigma held by many American and European buyers, and the choice to construct a state-of-the-art, 860,000 sq-ft facility from scratch was part of that. Now, with the assembly line running, we’re starting to see the first fruits of that effort.
As you can see in the images, the Byton plant looks incredibly clean and well-organized. The first batch of pre-production prototypes — which is to say, the first “production ready” vehicles suitable for final testing before the assembly line is given the final green light — can be seen in the images here. They’re finished in white, and there seems to be about 20 of them (PP-17 was the highest number I saw), but you can also see a few other M-Byte unibodies in other colors “in progress” as well, which will likely end up going to magazines’ press fleets.
As a quick reminder, the Byton M-Byte will be available with two powertrain options, with those being a single-motor rear-drive version with about 270 HP and a range of about 300 miles (483 km) as the first, and a second four-wheel drive dual motor version with 400 HP and a little less range — about 265 miles (426 km). Both versions will get the massive screen and slick, full-length moonroof that we’ve been writing about for just two years now, which represents a seriously impressive zero-to-hero time, if you ask me!
What about you? Are you Byton believers? Is this going to be the brand that retires the stigma of “Made in China” once and for all, or will its efforts for maintaining strict QC be in vain once the cars start reaching dealers? Check out the photos, below, then let us know what you think in the comments.