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What BYD electric cars are coming to Australia?

BYD via Sina Weibo

EVDirect is boldly plotting to launch a range of affordable Build Your Dreams (BYD) electric cars based on dedicated EV platforms in Australia.

The local distributor ambitiously aims to be a top five overall brand in the country with eight separate battery-electric models landing before the end of 2024.

The Shenzhen conglomerate is backed by billionaire Warren Buffet, is the fifth largest automaker by market share, and the fourth largest EV manufacturer by volume.

BYD's patented, durable and longer-lasting lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) ‘Blade Battery’ has been one of the key reasons for its success.

It has also formed a dedicated assembly line for the right-hand drive Australian market, partnered with Mycar Tyre and Auto to handle servicing and delivery, and signed a memorandum of understanding with Eagers Automotive Limited to display BYD models.

So what BYD electric cars are on the cards for Australia and when will they be available to buy?

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BYD Atto 3: July 2022

The BYD Atto 3 small SUV will be the company’s first high volume, mass market EV with an affordable starting price from $44,381 before on-road costs and state incentives to directly compete with the refreshed MG ZS EV.

The online-only reservation books opened in late February, with first customer deliveries expected from July this year. A new pre-order will need to wait until at least August for delivery at the time of writing.

Called the Yuan Plus in China, the crossover rides on a dedicated ‘e-Platform 3.0’, integrates the brand’s thin ‘Blade Battery’ in its structure, and has vehicle-to-load (V2L) capability. It offers 320km of range (WLTP) on the base Standard Range battery or up to 420km of range (WLTP) on the larger Extended Range battery for $3000 more.

Available in one highly-specified model, the Atto 3 features a complete active safety assistance suite, electric tailgate, two-tone blue and white artificial leather interior, panoramic sunroof, 12.8-inch rotating ‘DiLink’ touchscreen and more as standard.

The importer says the latter will be updated with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto at a later date, along with promising more exterior and interior colour choices. For a complete breakdown of pricing and specifications, read more here.

BYD via Sina Weibo
Image by - BYD via Sina Weibo

BYD ‘Atto 2’: Late 2022/early 2023

Next in the pipeline is BYD’s cheaper Volkswagen ID.3 and Cupra Born rivalling small EV hatchback. Already displayed in BYD’s Sydney showroom, it’s called the BYD Dolphin or EA1 in China and will likely be renamed to the ‘Atto 1’ or ‘Atto 2’ to fit with the Australian line-up.

EVDirect has said its targeting a launch in December 2022, with pre-orders available a few months before, and an affordable price tag of around $35,000. But, don’t be surprised if it’ll take until 2023 to land in Australia given industry-wide supply constraints.

While local specifications are yet-to-be announced, the ‘Atto 2’ is based on the same dedicated ‘e-Platform 3.0’ with two integrated LFP ‘Blade Battery’ sizes offered in China good for 301km and 405km of range on the unrealistic NEDC cycle. Though, only the bigger battery pack is expected to be offered in Australia.

Like the Atto 3 SUV, it features a quirky two-tone interior, signature 12.8-inch rotating infotainment system and a 360-degree camera view with a dashcam recording function. The compact hatchback is designed by former Audi design chief Wolfgang Egger and adopts a marine-like theme concept.

The company is particularly targeting rideshare and taxi drivers – which makes even more economic sense to switch to electric due to significantly lower running costs – with a practical interior and 2700mm long wheelbase.

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BYD ‘Atto 4’: Q2 2023

Directly rivalling the popular Tesla Model 3 and recently introduced Polestar 2, EVDirect will aim to launch a sleek BYD small sedan EV shortly after the ‘Atto 2’ in the second quarter (April to June) of 2023, with pre-orders opening at the end of this year.

Dubbed the BYD Seal in its home market, it’ll likely be renamed to the BYD ‘Atto 4’ when it lands Down Under. Expect it to be cheaper than the Model 3’s price, which currently starts from $63,990 before on-road costs and state incentives.

Based on the Ocean X concept designed by Egger, the small sedan will have a performance edge. It’s available in three powertrain configurations in China with single-motor rear-wheel drive or dual-motor all-wheel drive.

No 0-100km/h sprint times nor driving range claims have been detailed yet, but it does sit on the same ‘e-Platform 3.0’ with a 2920mm wheelbase and, of course, uses its LFP-based BYD ‘Blade Battery’.

Likewise, there’s no word yet on the ‘Atto 4’s’ interior, but expect a similar large rotating touchscreen, active safety assistance technology based on the Nvidia Drive Hyperion computing platform, and flush pop-out exterior door handles.

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Where is the BYD e6 and T3?

While the wheels are turning for EVDirect now, it seemingly had a very ‘soft launch’ in 2021 with the release of the BYD e6 people mover and BYD T3 light commercial van EVs.

Both the e6 and T3 have been discontinued in Australia, with the distributor no longer displaying or mentioning the EVs on its website.

It’s believed EVDirect only sold a handful of both BYD EVs that are based on internal combustion engine underpinnings. Drive reports only 15 examples of the e6 and 50 examples of the T3 have been sold.

A number of owners of the rare electric BYD models have documented their journeys online and one is even listing his e6 and T3 on car sharing network Evee.

When they were available to order in mid-2021, the e6 family hauler was priced at a sharp $39,999 and T3 van at an affordable $34,950 before on-road costs and state incentives. Both models can still be serviced at select Mycar Tyre and Auto partners.

BYD via Sina Weibo
Image by - BYD via Sina Weibo

What about other BYD EVs?

With the Atto 3 small SUV, ‘Atto 2’ hatchback and ‘Atto 4’ performance sedan all confirmed, what about the remaining five models by the end of 2024?

EVDirect CEO Luke Todd told CarExpert that the BYD Song Plus EV medium SUV and an all-electric BYD ‘Utility’ ute will be ‘focused’ on later in 2023.

The Shenzhen automaker currently sells the BYD Tang seven-seater large SUV in Europe and the local distributor had been spied testing the BYD Han large sedan locally – both of which were previously promised for Australia in early 2021 and have recently received facelifts in China. It's unclear whether plans have since changed.

Stay tuned to zecar for the latest BYD EV news in Australia.

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