Chinese EV startup BYTON is close to securing $100 million in new funding, according to a report. The company is looking to raise $500 million as it prepares to bring its first all-electric SUV to market this year.

BYTON is close to signing an agreement with Chinese state-owned carmaker FAW for $100 million, Bloomberg reports. Sources said the startup is ultimately seeking $500 million from its latest round of fundraising, which would give BYTON a valuation around $2.5 billion.

FAW was also the lead investor during a $500 million financing round last year. Bloomberg said the carmaker is partnering with BYTON at least in part to revive the country’s Red Flag limousine brand.

BYTON wants to enter the Chinese market by the end of this year with its M-Byte all-electric SUV. While BYTON looks to focus on China, the company also has global aspirations — it has said it wants to enter the global market by 2020.

The company announced last month that it completed winter testing of the M-Byte. It has a factory in Nanjing, China for vehicle production.

We took a ride in an M-Byte SUV prototype during last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, and the vehicle’s huge in-dash screen really pushes the limits. The company also unveiled an autonomous electric sedan concept last year.

BYTON has said the M-Byte will feature a starting price of $45,000. That brings drivers a 71 kWh battery pack for 250 miles of range, 30 minutes fast-charging to 80%, and a 200 kW rear-wheel drive motor.

There’s also been discussion about premium versions of the M-Byte, which could come with a 95 kWh battery pack for 325 miles of range, and a dual motor all-wheel-drive system. The price on those high-end versions hasn’t been confirmed, though BYTON’s website says the SUV features a range of “up to 325 miles.”

BYTON is currently taking reservations for the M-Byte on its website.


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