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Electric Vehicle Startup Byton Raises $500 Million in Funding to Meet Production Goals

Chinese electric car startup Byton is building up its war chest.

The company announced Monday that it raised a whopping $500 million in Series B funding to focus on launching a production electric car in 2019. Investors in the round include Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology and FAW Group, Tus-Holdings.

The capital will be used toward “continued progress in mass production, R&D and product development,” according to Byton. The startup also officially opened its global headquarters in Nanjing, China Monday, adding to its R&D center in Silicon Valley and a design center in Germany. It hopes to begin rolling out prototype model cars from a factory in Nanjing in the first half of 2019. Byton is targeting to launch its first mass production model on the market by end of 2019.

The largest single investor is Chinese state-owned automaker FAW Group, according to The Drive. FAW, which contributed around $250 million, is one of China’s largest domestic automakers and could provide relevant manufacturing expertise. Still, it’s worth noting that building and operating a factory could prove costly, and it might need additional funding to sustain it.

The electric vehicle startup has been active lately.

Byton, a Chinese-based electric vehicle company, unveiled its concept SUV on the opening media day at CES 2018.Photo by Kirsten Korosec
Photo by Kirsten Korosec

In January, Byton unveiled its tech-centric all-electric SUV concept at the big tech trade show CES. The base version of the car, which starts at about $45,000, will have a 71-kilowatt-hour battery pack that can travel 250 miles on a single charge. Byton told Fortune this base model will be able to charge its battery 80% in 30 minutes. A more expensive version, figures the company didn’t provide, will be four-wheel drive and be able to travel 325 miles on a single charge.

In February, Byton struck a partnership with self-driving vehicle technology startup Aurora. The two companies will conduct a pilot deployment of Aurora’s L4 autonomous driving systems on Byton vehicles in the “next two years.”