Chinese EV start-up BYTON is close to signing an agreement with Chinese State-owned carmaker FAW for USD 100 million. The company will eventually raise USD 500 million from its latest round of funding, which would value BYTON at about USD 2.5 billion. Byton also plans to bring its first all-electric SUV to market this year.
DAI Lei, CEO of Byton said at the Nanjing factory exchange conference today that the investment from FAW has progressed to the final stage. This round of financing is supported by the Nanjing government, and the C round of financing will be announced before the end of June.
BYTON hopes to enter the Chinese market as an M-Byte all-electric SUV by the end of this year. While the company wants to focus on China, it also has global ambitions -- it has said it wants to enter the global market by 2020.
BYTON has raised a total of USD 700M in funding over 3 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Jun 11, 2018, from a Series B round. Investors include FAW Group, Tus-Holdings and CATL. Byton also announced the opening of a new HQ in Nanjing, China. This is on top of Byton's research and development centre in Santa Clara, Calif.
The company, which has a plant in Nanjing, plans to start selling its first M-Byte model in China by the end of this year. Byton's Co-founder Daniel Kirchert said in an interview in January that the company will also target North America and Europe around mid-2020. Daniel Kirchert said at the time that the company would consider an initial public offering after new financing and production began.
BYTON said M-Byte starts at USD 45,000. Drivers can drive 250 miles on a 71 kWh battery pack, charge up to 80 per cent in 30 minutes, and have a 200 kWh rear-wheel-drive motor. There is also said to be an advanced version of the M-Byte, which could have a 95 kWh battery pack, and a two-motor four-wheel-drive system with a range of 325 miles, though the price has yet to be determined.
The Nanjing-headquartered car manufacturer has undergone a major management shake-up in recent months. On January 29, 2019, BYTON announced that the company would separate the roles and responsibilities of Chairman and CEO, appointing Dr. Carsten Breitfeld as Chairman and Dr. Daniel Kirchert as CEO.
However, Byton confirmed that its Chairman and Chief technology officer, Dr Carsten Breitfeld, a former BMW manager, would leave "to start new ventures in the start-up industry" on April 16th. Byton said it would soon announce a new CTO and begin trial production of m-byte this summer.