Header Ads

Inside Byton's electric car with a 48-inch screen

Hey everyone, this isSean O'Kane from The Verge, and I'm about to drive theByton M-Byte electric SUV. Let's go for a ride. (door closing) (upbeat music) Now in case you don't know who Byton is, they're one of the many EVstartups around the world, that are trying to bringan electric vehicle to market. They're based in Chinaand they basically made their public debut here, at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2018, where they showed off aconcept version of this car. Now they've spent thetwo years since then, refining the car and gettingit ready for mass manufacturing at their plant in Nanjing, China and the version that Igot to drive here today, is the second pre-production prototype to have rolled off that factory line.


 Now Byton's whole thing isn'tabout really crazy performance or super high luxury, whatthey really are talking about doing with their cars, ischanging the whole paradigm around user experience. And the focal point of that is obviously that massive screen. It's the first thing you notice when you look at this car. It's 48 inches long and it stretches from pillar to pillar. It's a very divisive thing and a lot of peoplehave been really worried about what it would be like to drive with a screen that big, in front of you. And I gotta say, just fromspending a couple minutes in the car, I can understandhow you might be able to literally look past it. The screen is enormous, butit's sunken into the dashboard and Byton's also done a lotof work on the software side, to make sure that it's not so distracting. You can turn off all the widgets that make up the userinterface, for example. And some things, likethe news feed widget, won't update while you're driving. You also can't watch videowhile you're driving, which is probably a good thing. In fact the thing that I probably found more distracting than anything, is the screen on the center of the wheel. It was a little bright inthe pre-production prototype and I'm sure you'd be ableto turn that brightness down in the final version, buteven if that's the case, it's just right therein front of your vision.


There is another screen, comingoff of the center console, but I never really noticed that. The weirdest thing aboutthis whole experience is that we've just never hadthis kind of experience before, in a car. So it's hard to really geta sense of how all of this is gonna play out, 'causethere's just so much going on in this interior, in away that no other car has ever thrown at a driver. That it really is going to take this car getting into the hands of people, before we understand what kind of impact all this technology isgonna have on people. The whole pitch thatByton is trying to make is that this technologywill gain even more value, if and when it's able to come up with partially self driving technology or fully self driving technology. But that's a long way off, so in the meantime,Byton's gonna have to do a lot of work, as this car comes to market later this year, in convincingpeople, and honestly, just teaching them how touse this car, the right way. And the screen isn't the only thing that Byton's trying to sell as a new idea.

They're also talking about doing a lot of health data integration,collecting a lot of information about the driver, and using advanced technologieslike facial recognition. A lot of stuff that people are actually kind of wary about now. So in that sense, tryingto sell people on the idea of a giant screen in the car, doesn't actually seem likethat crazy of an idea. And Byton's not the only onetrying to convince people of this idea. A lot of automakers, bothstart ups and traditional OEMs, are also moving in thisdirection of bigger screens. And so in a couple years' time, it's not just going to be up to Byton to answer the question of whether or not we should have big screens in cars. It's gonna be up to, basically all of us. To make sure that you can turn off some of the elephant. Elephant (laughing). Oh it is CES day two. Hey everybody, thanks for watching. If you wanna see moreweird, electric cars, and everything else that we've seen here at the Consumer Electronics Show, go to YouTube.com/TheVergeand click subscribe. 

No comments