China’s Byton Gets License To Launch Electric SUV In US

China's automaker Byton gets license to sell electric SUV in US

Chinese startup Byton announced Monday (Nov. 18) that it has secured a distributor license from California, bringing it one step closer to bringing its first electric SUV, Byton M-Byte, to the United States.

The company, which was launched in 2017 by Future Mobility Corp, plans to roll out its electric SUV in China in 2020 before moving into the U.S. and the European Union in 2021, according to Reuters. There are also plans for an electric sedan and an MPV.

“We received a very positive feedback on the BYTON M-Byte at the IAA Frankfurt and in the following weeks. With a traditionally very critical European audience and many great cars from established manufacturers surrounding us, this makes us particularly proud. At the same time, we are also confirmed in our concept by the current developments on the various European markets. We clearly notice this momentum in the current discussions with retail and after-sales partners,” Dr. Daniel Kirchert, BYTON CEO and founder said last month in a press release.

This new license will allow the company to sell and service vehicles in the U.S. on its own, as well as through retail partners. Byton has also created Byton Cars California LLC as its retail entity. Once it secures a California dealer license, the entity will be able to sell and lease directly to customers in California and sell online in other states.

Many automakers are racing to get their electric vehicles on the market. In September, electric vehicle automaker Rivian announced it took in a $350 million investment from global car services company Cox Automotive. The companies said in a statement that in addition to the investment, they will both “explore partnership opportunities in service operations, logistics and digital retailing.”

That same month,  GM and Ford both revealed that they were working to design very different new versions of their most profitable pickup truck models with the replacement of engines that are fueled by petroleum with batteries.