Chinese firm Byton unveils high-tech electric SUV in Las Vegas

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas was once a place solely populated by tech companies, but in recent years more and more car manufacturers have chosen to exhibit there. The latest is Byton – a Chinese firm that's chosen CES to unveil its first car.

The Byton Concept is a premium SUV along the same lines as the Tesla Model X – emphasising a high-tech interior and bang up-to-date electric powertrain. The firm describes it as "almost production-ready", and says it will support fully autonomous driving when it enters production in 2019.

Byton Concept Crossover launches at CES
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Byton Concept Crossover launches at CES

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The Concept will be available with either a single electric motor, producing 268bhp and powering the rear wheels, or a dual-motor set-up with four-wheel-drive and 469bhp. Byton says the car will be capable of 0-60mph in around five seconds.

Byton – which is a contraction of "Bytes on Wheels" - has a strong team backing it up. Chief executive Carsten Breitfeld is the former boss of BMW's electrified i division, while ex-Apple employee Jeff Chung heads up the company's Intelligent Car Experience division.

"What we want to try to do is merge your life outside of the car with your experience inside the car," Chung said. That could be why the firm's chosen to equip the concept with a monstrous display that stretches the entire width of the dashboard – a feature the company says will make it to the production stage. There's even a tablet computer fitted to the centre of the steering wheel.

Cameras control every aspect of the car, with facial recognition software unlocking the doors and setting the driving position and driving modes according to who's approaching. The car's interface can be used with touch, voice or gesture control, and door and interior mirrors are replaced with monitors.

Byton aims to put the SUV into production in 2019, with a saloon car and MPV to follow on the same platform. Prices are said to start from $45,000 (£33,187), though whether this will be the same in all markets is yet to be confirmed.

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