While most car manufacturers have been hit to some degree by the pandemic, the Chinese Byton was likely among the most affected companies. The startup is among the more promising Chinese EV manufacturers and was looking to spearhead the nation’s EV industry with an early launch.
Despite setbacks, the car could still be launched close to its targeted date
However, the company’s expansion was halted by the pandemic for various reasons. Perhaps the most prominent one is that the company lacks big-name backers as opposed to many of its competitors, such as the Saudi Arabia-backed Lucid Motors and the Amazon-backed Rivian, both of which have mostly resumed operations and even provided updates on the project throughout the pandemic.
Being a Chinese state-backed manufacturer was also a detrimental factor, as Byton had to close its factory in Nanjing in order to stop the virus from spreading. In an announcement through Electrek, the company also said that it will be closing its factory in Santa Clara, California. Although Byton said that the vehicle production was impacted, it didn’t explicitly state that there would be a major launch delay, meaning that the M-Byte SUV might still come close to its initial targeted launch before the end of the year. On a more positive note, Chinese EV startup Nio said that the pandemic didn’t force the company to shut down any of its factories, and that there are no plans to do so down the line. Nio has already launched its electric SUV, so far available only in China, and revealed in February that the firm gathered $1.4 billion in venture capital.