Byton eyes fleet potential for electric SUV
The company sees Europe as a strategically important market for its first production model, with 25,000 of its 65,000 global pre-orders coming from the region. Customers in Norway, Sweden, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland will be able to place €500 downpayments in the second half of this year, with deliveries early in 2021.
Sales will be supported by a pan-European network of dedicated ‘Byton Places’, augmenting online and app-based ordering, and the carmaker is forming partnerships with large dealer groups, parts distribution and servicing companies in its launch markets. Similar conversations are underway for the second ‘wave’ of countries due within the subsequent 12 months, which will include right-hand drive versions.
The M-Byte is slightly larger than a BMW X3, and built on a dedicated EV platform with a choice of 72kWh or 95kWh battery capacities and two- or four-wheel drive, offering a WLTP range of up to 286 miles. It also supports 150kW high-speed charging, and Byton has partnered with Digital Charging Solutions, providing access to 158,000 charging points on 450 national and international networks, all within a single membership. The carmaker is targeting a €45,000 (£39,000) starting price in all European markets.
Chief customer officer, Dr Andreas Schaaf believes fleets will be an important component of its sales mix. “[Fleet] is an example of the need to work with strong partners,” he said. “You can try to turn the whole environment upside down, and [say] we [will] do everything differently but, in many markets, in the UK, in Germany and the Netherlands, the corporate business is [really important]. So you really need to have that in mind. We are working with dedicated companies in the financial area to offer the right products which also cater for fleet customers.”