BYD Automotive Australia (formerly called 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.
All BYD cars feature its in-house structural lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) ‘Blade Battery’, which is said to be more energy dense, safer with less thermal runaway, and longer lasting than typical LFP-based packs.
The Shenzhen conglomerate is said to also have a dedicated assembly line for the right-hand drive Australian market, partnered with dealer franchisee giant Eagers Automotive Limited to operate showrooms, delivery handovers, and servicing alongside independent mechanic mycar Tyre and Auto.
So what BYD electric cars are confirmed for Australia and when will they be available to buy?
BYD Atto 3: September 2022
The BYD Atto 3 small SUV is the company’s first mass market EV in Australia, with one highly specified model and two battery sizes starting from $44,381 before on-road costs and state incentives.
First customer deliveries are expected from September for the prioritised Extended Range variant.
It directly competes with the facelifted MG ZS EV, offering up to 420km of driving range (WLTP) from a full charge, a 12.8-inch rotating ‘DiLink’ touchscreen, funky two-tone interior design and more as standard.
Called the Yuan Plus in China, the crossover rides on a dedicated ‘e-Platform 3.0’, integrates the brand’s thin Blade Battery cells and is vehicle-to-load (V2L) capable.
The local distributor is backing the BYD car with a limited warranty, with the first five services capped at $347 per visit on average.
Check out our first impressions with an Australian-spec BYD Atto 3 here.
BYD Dolphin: Mid-2023
The distributor is aiming to open the pre-order books in December 2022 for first deliveries by June 2023. It’s expected to have an affordable price tag of around $40,000.
While local specifications are yet-to-be announced, the BYD hatch is based on the same dedicated e-Platform 3.0 with two LFP Blade Battery sizes offered in China.
Only the bigger battery pack is expected to be offered in Australia, which is good for up to 405km of claimed range on the unrealistic NEDC cycle.
Like the Atto 3 crossover, it features a quirky two-tone interior with a marine-like theme, signature 12.8-inch rotating infotainment system and a 360-degree camera view with a dashcam recording function.
BYD Seal: Mid-2023
Directly competing against the popular Tesla Model 3, growing Polestar 2 and pricier BMW i4, the local distributor aims to launch a more upmarket BYD electric sedan around the same time as the Dolphin, with pre-orders possibly opening at the end of this year and deliveries in mid-2023.
Dubbed the BYD Seal in its home market, it’s expected to be more affordable than the Model 3s price at around $60,000.
Based on the Ocean-X concept, the small sedan will have a performance edge. It’s available in three powertrain configurations and four variants in China, with single-motor rear-wheel drive and dual-motor all-wheel drive options.
The quickest model offers a 0-100km/h sprint in just 3.8 seconds, while the mid-spec model features up to 700km of claimed range from its LFP-based BYD Blade Battery under China’s lenient testing cycle.
The BYD electric car also sits on the same third-generation EV platform with a 2920mm wheelbase and small frunk storage space.
It boasts a large 10.25-inch digital driver’s instrument display and 15.6-inch central rotating infotainment system, debuts active safety assistance systems based on the Nvidia Drive Hyperion computing platform, and includes flush pop-out exterior door handles.
Where is the BYD e6 and BYD T3?
While the wheels are turning for BYD now in Australia, 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, which was priced from a sharp $39,999 and $34,950 before on-road costs respectively.
Both the e6 and T3 have been discontinued in Australia.
It’s believed the local distributor only sold a handful of both BYD cars 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.
What about other BYD EVs?
Beyond the BYD Atto 3, Dolphin and Seal, BYD Automotive Australia is said to be working on bringing a yet-to-be revealed medium electric SUV aimed at competing against the Tesla Model Y, and a dual-cab electric ute to introduce a zero emissions rival to the evergreen Toyota HiLux that is currently lacking in Australia.
However, both the BYD SUV and ute will likely come after 2023.
Meanwhile, the Shenzhen automaker currently sells the BYD Tang seven-seater large SUV in Europe and the distributor had been spied testing the BYD Han large sedan locally – both of which were previously promised for Australia in early 2021 and have now been ruled out.
It's clear that plans have since changed. Amid the tight partnership with Eagers Automotive, the distributor has backtracked on its warranty promise and revealed above-average capped price servicing costs for the Atto 3, just days from first deliveries.
UPDATE 26/8/22: We’ve updated the story as new details have emerged about BYD in Australia.
Figures by Danny Thai
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