China’s leading electric vehicle startup, Byton, has just completed its latest round of cold weather testing in Mongolia. The company tested its highly anticipated M-Byte by clocking up several thousand kilometers in prototype vehicles on open roads and specially prepared test tracks at temperatures of down to -30°C (-4°F to -22°F).
The successful testing marked another milestone for the high-achieving company. According to a media release by the company, the tests focused on batteries, battery management, and drive electronics to ensure reliable operation and achieve an appropriate range in extreme weather conditions.
Extreme weather big hurdle for autonomous cars
The vehicle's chassis, running gear and heating system were also put through their paces. Cold weather testing is integral not just to make sure the cars physical construction can withstand the elements. Byton pan on making their cars self-driving and being able to deal with extreme weather is a massive challenge.
Both Waymo and Yandex have completed similar cold weather testing as part of their push towards fully autonomous vehicles and no doubt others in the sector are heading to the snow as well.
M-Byte turns heads
Interesting Engineering's John Loeffler reported on the M-Byte when the prototype was shown off at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year. Industry observers say the M-Byte could seriously challenge Tesla's dominance in the Chinese and even international markets.
The car boasts a specially developed AI system and features similar autonomous driving capabilities as comparable electric vehicles coming onto the market. Incredibly for an automotive startup, Byron seems to be on track with their publicly stated goals.
Byton gears up for production
According to their recent press statement, the company is working flat out to complete its new intelligent production facilities, which are built around cutting-edge Industry 4.0 standards. The halls are reportedly now complete and are being fired with the latest machines from globally recognized companies such as AIDA Engineering from Japan and KUKA and DÜRR from Germany.
Byron says it expects pre-series production to kick off in summer 2019 with its first production cars ready to be delivered at the end of 2019 in China. The USA will receive cars in the second half of 2020 and Europe will follow soon after.
The M-Byte prototype that has been on display at several techs and automotive shows over the last year looks impressive. The car is elegantly styled without being too pompous.
On the inside, a super long center screen console gives access to the cars tools and settings to both the driver and the passenger. But embedded AI also allows the car's settings to adjusted using voice control. Byron says the car will ‘know’ its drivers and can even suggest a good restaurant based on your previous locations as you head off for a night out.