Electric Vehicles

Out of juice: Chinese EV company Byton suspends operations, lays off staff

It looks like it's the end of the line for Byton.

Photo courtesy of Byton

Lucid, Faraday Future, Byton, Rivian. One by one electric vehicle companies debuted over the last few years promising big innovation and a revolution to the mobility industry. Now, another one looks like it's biting the dust.

Byton recently announced that it is suspending operations for the next six months and letting go most of the staff that remained after they laid off about half of its 450 U.S.-based employees in April.

Byton M-Byte The electric vehicle market is getting increasingly competitive.Photo courtesy of Byton

Byton spokesman Dave Buchko told TheDetroitBureau.com, "The company is going to suspend operations on July 1 for six months ... the board of directors and top management are looking to find a way to move the company forward."

The company was founded in 2017 by a group of former Nissan and BMW executives. More than $800 million was eventually raised for the venture from three rounds of funding efforts, much of it coming from China. Byton recently completed their assembly plant and was given a license to produce vehicles by the Chinese government.

The company made its biggest industry waves when it debuted an all-electric vehicle at CES in 2019 that featured a 48-inch video display that ran from driver to passenger across the dashboard. In 2020, they showed off an electric utility vehicle at the same event.

Despite a diversified portfolio of investors from global markets, Byton looks to not have been able to sustain the company in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Byton M-Byte The company's 48-inch screen made waves when it was revealed.Photo courtesy of Byton

Byton was already facing an uphill battle in the marketplace. The industry's heaviest hitters are looking to infuse the global market, and especially the Chinese market, with a bevy of battery electric vehicles in the coming year.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Audi A7 will be available later this year in a plug-in hybrid format.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi has revealed the third plug-in hybrid in its lineup, the 2021 A7 55 TFSI e, a powerful option for executive car buyers. It joins the Audi Q5 TFSI e and Audi A8 TFSI e as the only PHEVs in the company's U.S. lineup.

The A7 gets its power from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with an electric motor and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The car has a total system output of 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is standard.

Audi's new sedan can run as a hybrid or on all-electric power. Drivers can utilize the vehicle in three drive modes: hybrid, EV, and Battery Hold. Hybrid mode is activated automatically when the navigation system is issuing guidance in order to optimize battery power and reduce fuel consumption. In EV mode, the car exclusively uses battery power up to a certain speed. Battery Hold mode utilizes the car's powertrain to keep the battery capacity at its current level.

2021 Audi A7 55 TSFI e Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The A7 holds its lithium-ion battery under the rear cargo area of the sportback sedan. Final EPA-estimated fuel economy and range numbers are pending. The 14.1-kilowatt-hour battery features 104 pouch cells with a voltage of 381 volts.

Audi's predictive efficiency assist technology adjust the vehicle's behavior to save on fuel. According to the automaker, ". Detectable haptic feedback from the accelerator pedal and a visual signal in the MMI and head-up display indicate the proper time to let off the accelerator to use as much kinetic energy as possible."

The model comes standard with Audi's S line exterior package, which includes specific front and rear fascia designs, fender badgers, and illuminated doorsill inlays. The car also has Matrix-design LED headlights, high beam assist, quad-zone automatic climate control, Audi advanced key, Audi Virtual Cockpit, ad PHEV-specific displays within the infotainment system and cockpit. It rides on 20-inch Audi Sport five-twin-arm wheels wrapped in all-season tires.

The roster of standard features continues with audible low-speed exterior e Sound, a top view camera with Virtual 360 view, Integrated Toll Module, the Audi MIB 3 infotainment operating system, heated front seats, and leather upholstery for all five passengers.

A variety of packages are available.

Audi Virtual Cockpit now displays speed reductions, including those for speed limits, tow signs, curves, downward slopes, traffic circles, intersections, and highway exits.

The fresh version of the A7 can be charged at any SAE J1772 charging station or at home. Audi has partnered with Amazon Home for home charger installation should a vehicle buyer decide they want to install a charger at their residence. Charging can be monitored via the myAudi app.

The 2021 Audi A7 TFSI e starts at $74,900, a $5,000 increase over the base gasoline-only A7 55 TSFI. It will be available in Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels (the traditional A7 55 is available in three, including the lower grade Premium offering).

Audi says that customers who purchase purchasing the 2021 Audi A7 55 TFSI e will be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $6,712. Additional state incentives may also be available.

The model is expected to arrive in dealerships later this year.

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The Zero SR/F and SR/S are part of the Cash for Carbon offer.

Photo courtesy of Zero Motorcycles

The all-electric lineup of Zero Motorcycles delivers the power and performance many motorcyclists are seeking without a drop of fuel. Now, the automaker is delivering a deal on them as well.

Through August 15, buyers can trade-in any gas motorcycle for a $1,500 instant credit for any new Zero SR/S or SR/F motorcycle. This amount is in addition to any trade in value Zero dealerships are currently offering. When combined with the North America Federal Tax Credit buyers have the potential of saving nearly $4,000 on a new model.

The 2020 Zero Motorcycles SR/F is a looker with true motorcycle design and plenty of power.Photo courtesy of Zero Motorcycles

The Zero SR/S has a top speed 124 mph and can deliver 110 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of peak torque. The company says that it takes about 80 minutes to charge its 14.4 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery to 95 percent with the 6-kilowatt-hour Rapid Charge upgrade. It has 161 miles of range in city driving, which an be upgraded to 200 miles of range with the available Power Tank.

Zero's SR/F is a more performance-focused motorcycle than the SR/S. It offers the same power specs as the SR/S but is 20 pounds lighter (485 vs 505 in standard trims and 498 vs. 516 in premium trims). Despite being lighter, the SR/F can carry more weight (515 vs 495 pounds in standard trims and 502 vs. 484 in premium trims).

With the $1,500 credit but without other discounts and credits factored in, the Zero SR/S starts at $19,995 and the SR/F starts $500 lower at $19,495.

Zero says that each full charge of the motorcycles costs just $1.61.

The motorcycles come standard with a two-year standard motorcycle warranty and a five-year/unlimited miles power pack warranty.

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