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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Electric vehicle production

GM outlines huge investment in new EV production

The $7 billion number is GM's largest single investment to date.

General Motors

Automakers are not shy about their plans to electrify their vehicle lineups. In fact, it's just the opposite, as most can't wait to release a media kit that sings the virtues of moving toward electrification and outlines their commitments to investing billions to make the move a reality. General Motors has been more active than most, building new facilities and revamping existing factories to handle new-age EV manufacturing. Today, the auto giant announced a further investment to build a new plant and overhaul the Orion Township facility in Michigan. The move creates thousands of jobs and positions GM as an early powerhouse in the EV race.

GM EV investment. GM says its new and existing facilities will create and retain thousands of jobs.General Motors

The $7 billion investment is slated for four Michigan manufacturing facilities. GM says the move will create 4,000 new jobs and retain 1,000 existing positions, and notes that the amount represents the single largest investment in company history. A new Ultium Cells battery plant in Lansing is part of the deal, along with the conversion of the GM assembly planting Orion Township. Orion will eventually house production of the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV and the electric GMC Sierra, making it the second of GM's facilities dedicated to building electric pickup trucks.

The Orion and Ultium Cells Lansing facilities will help GM boost its total full-size electric truck production to 600,000 units per year when both Factory Zero and Orion are in full swing. Though Ford sells more full-size trucks than Chevy or GMC individually, GM notes that the two combined move more trucks per year than The Blue Oval. The two plants join General Motors' existing EV-ready facilities that include Factory Zero in Detroit-Hamtramck, Spring Hill Assemble in Tennessee, CAMI in Ontario, and the Ramos Arizpe Assembly facility in Mexico.

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The iX M60 will hit dealers' lots in June 2022.

BMW

BMW's electric vehicle catalog is growing rapidly as the automaker rolls out new electrified cars and SUVs. The latest is the iX M60, a red-hot five-seat SUV with sleek styling and a spectacular list of standard features. BMW announced the new SUV this week, along with pricing and release date details.

The iX M60 is BMW's first performance-oriented electric SUV, though BMW calls it a sports activity vehicle, or SAV. Its powertrain has been massaged to produce up to 610 horsepower and 811 pound-feet of torque. Maximum power delivery is limited to times when the vehicle's launch control is activated, but even the "normal" numbers are impressive: In regular driving situations, the iX puts down 532 horsepower and 749 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration to 60 mph takes 3.6 seconds and the iX M60 can go on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph.

2023 BMW iX M60 Though extremely sporty, BMW doesn't shy away from using loads of luxurious finishes and materials. BMW

The iX brings more than performance, as its charging capabilities are quite strong. Using AC power, the vehicle can charge from 0-100 percent in 10.25 hours on its fastest setting. Using its fastest DC power setting, the iX can charge from 10 to 80% in just 35 minutes.

Two electric motors power the SUV, which provide standard all-wheel drive. Dual-axle air suspension is standard, along with electronically-controlled shock absorbers. BMW says that the air suspension is controlled individually at each wheel, so the vehicle can adjust ride height in several ways to maintain stability and remain level in corners.

2023 BMW iX M60 The vehicle can run from 0-60 mph in under four seconds and features standard AWD.BMW

When it goes on sale in June, 2022, the 2023 BMW iX M60 will have a starting price of $106,095, which includes a $995 destination charge. That's a flagship price tag, but the SUV's got the performance and a flagship-level list of standard features. That six-figure dollar amount buys 21-inch wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, wireless phone charging, AC fast charging, a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System, four-zone automatic climate controls, and more.

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