BYTON, the international brand of China-based EV startup Future Mobility Corp, secured $500 million in funding from some interesting partners to bring its electric vehicles to market.
Today, the startup also officially opened its global headquarters in Nanjing, China.
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As we previously reported, Byton was founded by a bunch of executives from Tesla, BMW, and Nissan. It has several Chinese investors, including Tencent Holdings, which is now also an important investor in Tesla.
The company is part of a growing trend of Chinese electric vehicle startups launching new EVs in China but who also have international ambitions.
The investors in this massive series B round includes FAW Group, Tus-Holdings, CATL, and more.
Dr. Daniel Kirchert, president and co-founder of BYTON, commented on the closing of the new round:
The success of this funding round highlights how diversified strategic investors will further expand BYTON’s circle of friends and broaden our development opportunities. BYTON is establishing a new benchmark for auto start-ups with four essential ‘must haves’, namely Technology, Product, Capital and Factory.
The company also opened its global headquarters in Nanjing, China, forming a global operation centered in Nanjing, with an R&D center in Silicon Valley and a design center in Munich, Germany.
Dr. Kirchert said about the opening:
The opening of our global headquarters in Nanjing is just the latest in the comprehensive advancement of BYTON’s R&D, production, and operations. At the same time, with further acceleration in developing the BYTON value chain for smart mobility, we will contribute to the formation of a smart industry cluster in Nanjing.
Here are a few pictures of the headquarters and factory in Nanjing:
China is investing heavily both domestically and internationally in electric vehicles through several companies.
BYTON is marketing itself as having “Chinese root and a global reach.”
Dr. Carsten Breitfeld, CEO and co-founder of BYTON, explained:
As a world leader in smart mobility, we aim to build BYTON into a global premium brand with ‘China Root, Global Reach’ as the core of our development strategy. By combining our expertise in R&D and traditional car-making with innovative Internet technologies, we aspire to pioneer a smart mobility revolution.
They unveiled their first vehicle, an all-electric SUV, at CES earlier this year.
At the time, they listed the key features of the vehicle in a press release:
- Shared lounge experience for in-car communication, entertainment and work, with content and connection driven by the BYTON Life cloud platform
- A single 125 x 25 cm (49 x 9.8 inch) Shared Experience Display center console, along with three additional display screens
- Unique human-vehicle interaction incorporating voice recognition, touch control, biometric identification and hand gesture control technology
- Incorporation of Amazon Alexa for intelligent voice control, with additional Amazon collaboration on audio and video content
- Maximum range of 520 km (323 miles) on a single charge
That range will be enabled by a 95 kwh battery pack and a 4-wheel-drive dual motor 350 kW powertrain for a premium. However, the base version starting at $45,000 will be powered by a single RWD 200 kW motor and a 71 kwh battery pack for a driving range of 400 km (248.5 miles).
Today, BYTON said that its “first batch of prototype models is set to roll out in April 2019 for testing, with the pilot production program starting in the first half of 2019, and Q4 as the target timing for the first mass production model to be launched into market.”
FAW Group is a Chinese state-owned automotive manufacturing company and CATL is the biggest battery maker in China.
Those are some serious partners and some serious funding for an EV startup.
I was extremely impressed by the SUV when it was unveiled and if they achieve the targeted price of $45,000, I think it could be quite successful.
Now with $500 million in the bank, it looks a lot more likely that they will be able to reach volume production – though that’s still low for the capital extensive auto industry.