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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The teaser image of the 2027 Kia lineup includes numerous cars and SUVs.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia has revealed plans to launch seven new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2027 in numerous segments. The first, code named CV, will launch in 2021 and serve as the kickoff to a new Kia design direction. The move is known internally as the “Plan S" strategy. Under Plan S, Kia's BEV line will include 11 models by 2025.

The announcement coincides with the company's stated goal of having 25 percent of Kia's global sales come from BEVs by 2029. To do that, the company plans to work to expand the world's electric vehicle (EV) charging network. Kia has sold over 100,000 BEVs worldwide since the company introduced its first model in 2011, the Kia Ray.

Kia Ray EV 2011 The Kia Ray was the company's first production EV.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Plan S includes a company-wide business transformation that will include production, sales, and services. Dealerships will likely be required too invest in equipment to handle the influx of EVs. In the U.S, Kia will increase the number of EV work bays at dealerships to 600 by the end of 2020 and increase the number to more than 2,000 by 2023..

The product plan includes a diverse number of models. The vehicles will include BEVs that are “suitable for urban centers, long-range journeys, and performance driving". They will be based on the company's new adaptable Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). The platform will allow for best-in-class interior spaciousness, according to Kia.

Though subscription services have not gained widespread popularity in the U.S., the company is exploring the creation of subscription services, as well as EV battery leasing and rental programs. Other “second life" battery-related businesses may be part of the plan as well.

Kia also plans to add around 500 charging stations in North America, partnering with its dealer networks. Further, the company is seeking a partner in North America to support a larger infrastructure buildout.

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The 2022 Hyundai Tucson takes what you know about the model and kicks it up more than just one notch.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai sells more Tucsons than any other model, and not just in the U.S. The global best-seller has been reborn with striking new looks and high-tech innovation that, on the surface, squarely put it at odds with the budget-conscious most of the models it competes against.

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson will be sold in short- and long wheelbase models worldwide.

Designers continues the Sensuous Sportiness language first put forth in the 2020 Hyundai Sonata and continued in the 2021 Hyundai Elantra in the new Tucson. At its front are Parametic Hidden Headlights that incorporate the daytime running lights and their housing into the grille of the vehicle. Here, it's realized as a "T" shape the that is similar to the new fascia on the refreshed Hyundai Santa Fe. The automaker says that the lights are only visible when they are illuminated.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Numerous creases are featured on the body of the car.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The crease-heavy body styling continues from the hood and down the sides of the compact SUV giving the model looks beyond your typical jellybean-shaped mommy hauler.

At the rear, a body-width taillight incorporates half-hidden triangular shapes that are only visible when lit. The Hyundai logo has been moved from its traditional place and and is now integrated into the rear glass. In turn, the wiper is now hidden under the car's spoiler.

Hyundai will sell the gasoline-powered versions of the model in seven paint colors: White Cream, Phantom Black, Shimmering Silver, Nocturne Gray, Amazon Gray, Flame Red, and Intense Blue, six of which are new for Tucson. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid models offer the following four colors: White Cream, Phantom Black, Shimmering Silver, and Intense Blue, three of which are new for Tucson.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Hyundai's new Tucson design is sleek yet sharp.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Tucson will be powered by a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. It achieves 187 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. These figures give the engine more horsepower than either of the two engines in the 2020 model and 31 pound-feet more torque than that year's base 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

A more powerful turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder will be available. That same 1.6-liter engine is also able to be matched with hybrid (HEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technology. Each engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The 1.6-liter hybrid engine alone achieves 178 horsepower. When coupled with the battery and elector motor, the overall output increases to 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, far surpassing anything offered in the last-gen Tucson.

Hyundai will employ its first-in-class E-Handling technology for HEV and PHEV models. All-wheel drive is available on the Tucson and comes with a number of drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Smart, Sport, Mud, Sand and Snow (not available in all markets).

2022 Hyundai Tucson The car features very distinct design lines.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The roster of safety technology on the Tucson is impressive. It includes: highway driving assist, forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, lane following assist, blind spot view monitor, blind-spot collision warning, surround view monitor, reverse parking collision-avoidance assist, remote smart parking assist, high beam assist, and driver attention warning. Blind spot collision avoidance assist with rear cross-traffic alert and assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, and safe exit warning are also available.

Hyundai designers strived to give the 2022 Tucson a serene and spacious interior. Like in the Nissan Ariya, the model was crafted to seamlessly blend space, technology, and information. The layered waterfall effect of the dashboard combines traditional horizontal lines with curves to draw the eye upward and downward without the feeling of space segregation. This space is marked by twin silver garnish lines that flow from the center fascia to the rear doors. Sixty-four color ambient mood lighting is adjustable in 10 levels of brightness.

2022 Hyundai Tucson Angular taillights are a unique design highlight.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The center stack houses twin 10.25-inch touch screens with split-screen and multi-tasking capabilities in the top Tucson trim level. A multi-air ventilation system and a hoodless digital gauge cluster are also present. An 8.0-inch infotainment screen is standard and features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto technology. A Bose Premium audio system is available.

Hyundai has given the Tucson its Digital Key technology, which uses an app to turn a user's smartphone into a smart key. This technology also debuted on the 2020 Sonata.

The company's car-to-home functionality allows customers to control smart home appliances from their car. Similarly, Tucson's new Multi-Command function allows customers to "warm-up the car"— including heating system, heated steering wheel and seat warmers—with a single voice command while at home.

2022 Hyundai Tucson A wraparound dashboard gives the model a sense of spaciousness.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Tucson is the first Hyundai vehicle to have the company's new air conditioning technology.

Hyundai engineers have designed the Tucson's second-row seats to feature fold-and-dive functionality. This allows for 38.7 cubic feet of cargo space. This is about the same amount as the cavernous Honda CR-V.

The first deliveries of the Tucson will happen in Korea in September. The U.S. will have to wait until the first half of 2021 for the model.

Hyundai has plans to introduce a Tucson N Line model globally at a date to be announced.

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