Electric Dreams: Byton M-Byte
There are two big revolutions happening in the car world right now. One is that of electric mobility and the other is that of how we use our cars, to begin with. They aren't just there to fulfil your basic transportation needs anymore, with the advent of autonomous driving tech and ever more seamless on-board connectivity, the gap between your car and your living space is blurring very quickly.
The Byton M-Byte is a perfect example of this. It follows the high-end electric SUV playbook. There are two battery options to choose from, a 95kWh one that gives 550km range and a 72kWh version with 430km. The M-Byte can further be had either as a single-motor RWD or a dual-motor AWD set-up. Power output for the former is 272PS, while the latter makes 408PS. While both have a 190kmph top speed, the single-motor version can do 0 to 100kmph in 7.5s, and the dual-motor version does the run in 5.5s. There will be a supportive charging infrastructure to go with this eventually.
But this Chinese start-up SUV's draw isn't in the numbers, but in how it interacts with its occupants. There's a 48-inch widescreen instrument panel that takes up all of the dash, this and the SUV's other interactions are all meant to provide a seamless transition between your life and your car. The seats can be swivelled around to face each other, while the screen can be used in iterations for entertainment, work and so on. All of the car's interactions happen via touch, gesture or facial controls, and the driver's entry point to these is via a 7-inch touchscreen that doubles up as an airbag and instrument cluster.
The Byton M-Byte is still under development, but the ideas that it brings to the table are thought-provoking, especially in a country like India. With our grid-locked city streets and busy highways, a car that can maximise the time you spend in it is definitely a big draw.
Like the rest of the world, India is also getting set to make the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). While not all EVs may charge you up, there are some that can, fortunately, get your motor going. These electrifying cars are available abroad, and through this monthly series, we hope to generate some high voltage current that will energize manufacturers to bring them here. Our charging port is eagerly waiting to get powered with your views.