Byton, the Chinese EV startup that revealed its first production-ready vehicle in 2019, has filed for bankruptcy in its home country, according to Pandaily.
Two companies, Nanjing Zhixing New Energy Vehicle Technology Development Co., Ltd., and Nanjing Zhixing Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd., both of which are related to Byton, had their bankruptcy cases filed last month, crushing hopes for the company's sole vehicle – the M-Byte SUV – of ever reaching series production status.
The firm's troubles began in 2019, the same year when the all-electric SUV was revealed as a finished product at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany.
Gallery: BYTON M-Byte
Back then, a round of funding led by the Chinese auto group FAW failed, followed by a change in management, and a few months later Foxconn stopped its investment. Another backer, the investment arm of the Nanjing government, also pulled its funding soon after.
Furthermore, in 2021, its main business unit, Nanjing Zhixing New Energy Vehicle Technology Development, was forced in court by a creditor to begin the bankruptcy procedure.
Pre-production of the M-Byte started in October 2019 at the company's new manufacturing facility in Nanjing, China, with the firm reportedly receiving more than 50,000 reservations for the zero-emissions vehicle. However, financial troubles and pandemic-induced shortages prompted the company to pause manufacturing shortly after, and then to restart it in April 2021.
Byton planned on becoming a global brand, with first deliveries scheduled to begin in China in the middle of 2020, followed by Europe and North America. It even received dealer and distributor licenses in California, but customer cars were never shipped.
The Byton M-Byte featured an immense, 48-inch display bolted on top of the dashboard, plus an additional screen mounted on the steering wheel base.
Rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive options were advertised, as well as two battery variants. The standard battery was 72 kilowatt-hours (usable), which Byton claimed would offer a driving range of 250 miles, while the optional 95 kWh pack (also usable capacity) was capable of offering a 323-mile driving range.
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