Build Your Dreams (BYD) is set to launch its first mass market car in Australia, the BYD Atto 3.
UPDATE 11/5/22: EVDirect has revealed more details of the Atto 3, along with introducing a new ‘Energy Red’ colour option on the Extended Range. For a breakdown of what’s been revealed, read here.
While local distributor EVDirect (run by Nexport and owned by the TrueGreen Group investment fund) already sold a handful of the BYD T3 light commercial van and e6 people mover in 2021 – both EVs have since been discontinued for the foreseeable future in Australia.
Enter the BYD Atto 3 (called the Yuan Plus in China). One of the most anticipated electric cars coming in 2022. Starting from $44,381 (US$31,852) before on-road costs, it is Australia’s latest affordable all-electric SUV, featuring up to 420km of range, a 12.8-inch rotating infotainment system, and a raft of safety assistance systems as standard.
It’s part of EVDirect’s plan to offer up to six new electric car models by the end of 2024, including an even cheaper small hatchback (likely BYD ‘Atto 2’), slick Tesla Model 3-rivalling sedan (likely BYD ‘Atto 4’), and a yet-to-be revealed electric ute all possible for Australia. Read what’s likely coming from BYD Down Under here.
Price and models
The BYD Atto 3 comes in two highly specified variants starting from $44,381 to $47,381 before on-road costs and state incentives.
That makes it one of Australia’s most affordable EVs to date, in line with the facelifted MG ZS EV starting from a competitive $46,990 drive-away nationwide.
The entire BYD Atto 3 range is also eligible for EV state incentives (see estimated pricing after state incentives below).
Atto 3 Standard – $44,381 before on-road costs
The base Standard features as standard:
- 49.9kWh ‘Blade Battery’
- 18-inch alloy wheels (215/55)
- Two-tone ‘Eclipse Blue’ and ‘Hazy Grey’ synthetic leather interior
- ‘Ski White’ exterior colour
- 12.8-inch rotating infotainment system with FM, DAB radio and Bluetooth
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (promised from Q3 2022)
- BYD DiLink connection system (promised from Q3 2022)
- Digital Video Recorder
- 5-inch driver's digital instrument cluster
- Active safety assistance suite (see below)
- 360-degree camera
- Eight-speaker Dirac sound system
- Qi wireless phone charging
- Keyless entry and start
- Portable card key
- Six-way driver and four-way front passenger adjustable power seats
- Panoramic sunroof
- Auto electric tailgate
- Roof rails
- Power folding and heated wing mirrors
- One touch four-door auto windows
- LED headlights with high beam assist and LED taillights
- LED interior reading lights
- Multi-colour gradient ambient lighting
- Multi-link rear suspension
- Heat pump
- Auto single-zone climate control
- PM2.5 air filter
- Vehicle-to-load (V2L)
- Auto hold brake
Atto 3 Extended – $47,381 before on-road costs
The Extended adds:
- 60.4kWh ‘Blade Battery’
- Premium paint – $700: Surf Blue, Boulder Grey, and Energy Red (Extended only)
The pre-order books are now open online. The first batch of customer orders were set for a July 2022 delivery. As at publication, EVDirect estimates deliveries to take place from September 2022 for new orders of all variants – except for the Atto 3 Extended in the new ‘Energy Red’ colourway which will lob from October 2022.
Like Honda, Tesla and Polestar, EVDirect will adopt a direct-to-consumer model, meaning guaranteed fixed pricing sold exclusively via its website.
The company is also displaying the BYD electric car in its new showroom in Darlinghurst, Sydney. It's also planning to offer test drives with its impending partner Eagers Automotive Limited.
Size and design
Outside, the Atto 3 adopts BYD's latest ‘Dragon Face 3.0’ design language, with a slightly sloping roofline, slim ‘dragon crystal’ LED headlights, and aerodynamic wheels.
Inside, the Chinese-made EV features a quirky fitness and musical inspired theme with red strings on the door cards to mimic guitar strings, dumbbell-shaped air vents, and a two-tone blue and white interior as standard.
In terms of practicality, it has 60/40 split fold seats, two ISOFIX child seat anchor points on the outer rear seats, and built-in roof rails.
Riding on a dedicated electric vehicle architecture, the Atto 3’s wheelbase is similar to medium SUVs like the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Hyundai Tucson, but with an overall length akin to small SUVs like the Nissan Qashqai.
Range and powertrain
The Atto 3 is available exclusively in one front-wheel drive powertrain and two battery sizes for a driving range of up to 420km on the strict WLTP testing cycle.
As with all EVs from the Shenzhen vehicle and battery conglomerate, the Atto 3 uses its in-house ‘Blade Battery’ that’s said to be stronger, safer, and at least 50 per cent more energy dense than conventional lithium-ion-phosphate (LFP) batteries.
The BYD Atto 3 SUV offers 80kW DC charging speeds, which tops-up the EV in a claimed 90 minutes, and three-phase 7kW AC charging capabilities.
The company claims its EV wagon-on-stilts can hold its DC fast charging rates for longer over time, resulting in quicker top-ups.
With its BYD ‘Blade Battery’ based on LFP chemistry, this also means it can be regularly charged to 100 per cent with minimal degradation concerns and doesn’t use the unsustainable cobalt rare earth mineral.
Safety and technology
The five-seater pure-electric SUV comes with a full gamut of active safety technologies as standard, including auto emergency braking (AEB), front- and rear collision warning, rear cross traffic alert with rear cross AEB, lane departure and lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and door open warning.
Occupants are covered by seven all-round airbags.
Although yet-to-be tested, EVDirect CEO Luke Todd expects BYD’s first high-volume model will achieve a 5-star safety rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).
Technology-wise, the Atto 3s interior is dominated by a 12.8-inch tablet-style infotainment system that can electronically switch between vertical and horizontal orientations, a small 5-inch driver’s digital instrument cluster attached to the steering wheel column, and configurable ambient lighting.
The company claims Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring will be available in Q3 (July to September) 2022. Likewise, it’s also promising to enable the BYD DiLink 'Intelligent Connection System’ which can install smartphone-like apps in the infotainment system from Q3 this year.
There’s also USB-C and USB-A charging ports available throughout the cabin.
Warranty and servicing
The Atto 3 is covered by a seven-year, unlimited kilometre vehicle warranty and seven-year/160,000km high-voltage battery warranty.
In December, EVDirect announced its partnership with independent mechanic mycar Tyre and Auto (formerly Kmart Tyre and Auto) to deliver and service all new BYDs, featuring dedicated service bays for EVs and specially trained technicians for BYD vehicles.
While it has a network of 275 centres across Australia, it’s initially starting with eight select locations and will expand to 30 sites this year to deliver and service all Atto 3s and other future BYD electric cars.
It has also signed a “memorandum of understanding” with the Eagers Automotive Limited group to display and test drive BYD EVs at its nationwide sites.
Is it cheaper than a petrol car?
Compared to a similarly sized SUV, the Nissan Qashqai, the Atto 3 has a similar upfront cost (post incentives); however, has vastly lower operating costs.
After five years of ownership, a typical driver in New South Wales could save up to $17,700.
How does it compare to other EVs?
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