Build Your Dreams (BYD) is set to launch its first mass market car in Australia, the BYD Atto 3 (called the Yuan Plus in China).
While local distributor EVDirect only 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.
Starting from $44,381 to $47,381 before on-road costs and state incentives in one highly specified variant and two battery sizes, the BYD Atto 3 is one of Australia’s most affordable electric SUVs with up to 420km of range (WLTP), a 12.8-inch rotating infotainment system, and a raft of safety assistance systems as standard.
First deliveries are set from September with the distributor prioritising the most popular Extended Range battery first. As at publication, delivery estimates for new orders stretch into 2023.
The company is also displaying and facilitating delivery handovers of the BYD electric car across BYD Experience Centres run by its partner, Eagers Automotive Limited, which is also responsible for servicing alongside select mycar Tyre and Auto mechanics.
The Atto 3 is part of EVDirect’s plan to offer up to six new BYD electric car models by the end of 2024, including a cheaper MG4-rivalling small hatchback (BYD Dolphin) and slick Tesla Model 3-like sedan (BYD Seal). Read what other BYD cars could be coming to Australia here.
Size and design
Riding on a dedicated 'e-Platform 3.0' EV architecture, 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.
Range and powertrain
The Atto 3 is available exclusively in one front-wheel drive powertrain and two battery sizes – Standard and Extended Range – for a driving range of up to 345km and 420km respectively on the stricter 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 crossover electric car is rated to tow up to 750kg braked or 700kg unbraked, and its built-in roof racks can carry a load of up to 50kg. A 'Tow Pack and Rack' accessory package is expected to be available from October.
The BYD Atto 3 SUV offers 70kW DC (Standard Range) or 80kW DC (Extended Range) charging speeds. The latter has an "approximately 45 minute charge time" from an unknown starting and end state of charge. It also has 7kW AC charging capabilities.
The company claims the crossover EV can hold its maximum DC 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.
Since it doesn't include a built-in navigation system, it's unlikely to offer battery preconditioning, although it does feature a heat pump and regenerative braking levels – but not one pedal driving – to improve energy efficiency.
Safety and technology
The BYD Atto 3 has not been safety tested by ANCAP yet.
The five-seater 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.
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 says Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring will be available later in 2022. Likewise, it’s also promising to enable a built-in BYD English voice assistant at the same time via an over-the-air software update for existing owners.
There’s also USB-C and USB-A charging ports available throughout the cabin.
Price and models
BYD Atto 3 Standard – $44,381 before on-road costs
The base Standard Range features as standard:
- 50.1kWh (usable) ‘Blade Battery’
- 18-inch alloy wheels (215/55)
- Two-tone Eclipse Blue and Hazy Grey synthetic leather interior
- 12.8-inch rotating infotainment system with FM, DAB radio and Bluetooth
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (coming Q3 2022)
- BYD English voice assistant (coming Q3 2022)
- 5-inch driver's digital instrument cluster
- Active safety assistance suite (see above)
- 360-degree camera
- Digital Video Recorder
- Eight-speaker Dirac sound system
- Qi wireless phone charging
- Keyless entry and start
- NFC portable card key
- Six-way driver and four-way front passenger adjustable power seats
- Front heated seats
- Panoramic sunroof
- Auto electric tailgate
- Roof rails
- Power folding and heated wing mirrors
- One touch four-door auto windows
- LED headlights with auto high beam 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
BYD Atto 3 Extended – $47,381 before on-road costs
The Extended Range adds:
- 60.4kWh (usable) ‘Blade Battery’
Check out our first impressions of the BYD Atto 3 here
BYD Atto 3 Options
- Standard paint – no cost: Ski White
- Premium paint – $700: Surf Blue, Boulder Grey, Energy Red (Extended only)
Warranty and servicing
The BYD Atto 3 is covered by a six-year/150,000km vehicle warranty and eight-year/160,000km battery warranty, promising it retains at least 70 per cent of its health.
However, the distributor specifies different warranties for select parts excluded from the vehicle warranty, including:
- Drive unit (motor, motor controller, high voltage electric control assembly) – Eight-years/150,000km
- Lights, tyre pressure monitoring module, suspension, ball joint – Four-years/100,000km
- Infotainment system, shock absorber, belt, dust cover, bushing or
gasket, release and wheel bearings, PM2.5 sensor, AC/DC charging port, USB charging ports – Three-years/60,000km
- 12-volt auxillary lead-acid battery – One-year/20,000km
- Air conditioner filters (filter net, high efficient strainer, electrostatic filter), button battery, brake pad, clutch disc, tyre, wiper blade assembly, bulbs, fuse, ordinary relay (excluding integrated control unit) – Six-months/10,000km
Only 12 months of roadside assistance is included with the option to extend for an undisclosed fee.
Amid widespread controversy, the distributor has defended its warranty provisions, stating in an email to customers:
"[Warranty] exclusions are for parts of the vehicle and service process of vehicle operations that are beyond the manufacturer's control, therefore some form of balance is required between providing the best possible warranty for all customers but also enabling provisions for some parts that may be inadvertently mistreated or overused."
There are now two servicing options for the BYD electric car:
- Standard kilometres: Every 12 months/20,000km, with capped prices over eight-years/160,000km averaging $298.75 per visit
- Lower kilometres: Every 12 months/12,000km, with capped prices over five-years/60,000km costing a fixed $189 per visit
If an owner chooses lower kilometres but exceeds driving 60,000km during the first five-years, service prices will revert to the standard kilometre schedule after the distance cap is reached.
An initial free three-month/5000km service is also needed.
It can be serviced at Eagers Automotive-run BYD Service Centres and select mycar Tyre and Auto (formerly Kmart Tyre and Auto) locations, promising there'll be 40 sites in total across the country. A full list of locations can be viewed here.
The distributor is also working on a BYD Service smartphone app, promises to stock a "full range" of genuine BYD parts in Brisbane, and will release an online portal for independent mechanics to learn how to service EVs safely.
BYD Atto 3 vs. Other EVs
UPDATE: 1/9/22: BYD Automotive Australia has cut servicing costs and introduced a more affordable 'lower kilometres' option, while defending its warranty provisions. More details here.
UPDATE: 22/8/22: EVDirect has backtracked on its warranty coverage, and confirmed rated towing and roof rack capabilities while updating its website under the BYD Automotive branding from Eagers. Previously, EVDirect promised a seven-year, unlimited kilometre vehicle warranty and seven-year/160,000km battery warranty.
UPDATE 23/7/22: The BYD Atto 3 has been given updated WLTP range ratings for the Standard Range battery, confirmed the inclusion of heated seats, and built-in voice assistant. We've updated the story accordingly.
UPDATE 18/7/22: EVDirect has confirmed the Atto 3 will be delivered through Eagers Automotive BYD Experience Centres instead of mycar as previously stated. We've also updated the story with new details and delayed delivery estimates.
UPDATE 11/5/22: EVDirect has revealed more details of the Atto 3 including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, plus a new ‘Energy Red’ colour. For a breakdown of what’s been revealed, read here.
Figures by Danny Thai
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