First attempt: the 3 electric models of BYD’s European offensive

BYD may not be known in Europe, but the Chinese brand (BYD for “Build Your Dreams”) is a global powerhouse. Founded in 1995, it is now a giant with 290,000 employees and more than 30 factories worldwide. BYD started by producing batteries (both for electronics and household applications), then cars, with its own models since 2005 and the world’s first plug-in hybrid in 2008. Today, BYD only manufactures electric cars and controls the entire production process. : from the battery to the electronics, including everything else in the car. It also works in the area of ​​new energies, with photovoltaic panels and domestic batteries. In addition, the brand manufactures electric buses, trucks and forklifts. Finally, know that you collaborate with Daimler and Toyota. Quite a resume!

Preview test, even before the official launch in Paris

At VROOM.be, we naturally focus on cars. At the beginning of the year, BYD surprised by overtaking Tesla in sales statistics for the world’s best-selling plug-in cars (in the first half). Note, however, that these statistics still include plug-in hybrids… While these sales figures are mostly done in China, BYD started selling cars in Europe about a year ago, and more specifically in Norway, where demand for electric cars is important. The Tang, a powerful and luxurious 7-seater SUV, is selling like hotcakes! A successful test, therefore, that explains why BYD decided to market its models in the rest of Europe, including Belgium! However, our country does not have an official distributor. However, if during the first meeting and despite the rumours, nothing was announced on the matter, we should know more in the coming weeks, once the discussions are finalized and the contract signed.

If the official contracts have not yet been signed, we have already been able to visit BYD’s European organization to learn about the three models that the brand intends to market in Europe. This first initiation took place on a closed track, with a limited but sufficient number of laps to get to know each other. The official presentation is not scheduled before the end of the year and will take place at the Paris Motor Show. Before that, in October, BYD will announce the full European specs, along with prices: in fact, so far they haven’t been finalized and we haven’t received any estimates. According to BYD, price should not be the only argument to convince customers: therefore, it is not worth expecting reduced prices… The price/equipment ratio must, however, be competitive!

cob

the BYD cob it is now available in Norway where it costs around €60,000, which is a lot of money for a model from an unknown brand! The good news is that the car offers a lot for its money: this spacious SUV has 7 seats and is very well equipped.

Under the floor we find a BYD LFP battery, which the brand calls the “Blade” for its robustness, its compact dimensions and its lightness. However, that doesn’t stop it from having a capacity of 86.4 kWh, which should be enough for a WLTP range of around 400 km. Furthermore, tests carried out in Norway show that the Tang achieves one of the best results on the market with regard to the relationship between WLTP range and real range (with a difference of -11%). However, we do not know under what conditions these tests were carried out… Note that in terms of charging, this Tang is limited to 110 kW during fast charging in direct current. The combined power of the electric motors is announced at 380 kW (517 hp) and is distributed over the 4 wheels. Against the clock, this gives a top speed of 180 km/h and 0 to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds!

The braking, meanwhile, is equally impressive: BYD worked with Brembo and Bosch on the braking system and accompanying software. Finally, we’ll notice a steering that isn’t very direct and decent comfort despite the 22-inch rims! However, let’s temporize remembering that speed was limited and the road was in good condition. Finally, if you are wondering about the origin of the name Tang, know that it is a Chinese dynasty.

Han

O Han, a luxury sedan with dimensions comparable to a BMW 5 Series, also takes its name from a Chinese dynasty. It should offer a real driving experience, with rear passengers particularly pampered, as evidenced by the possibility to adjust the… front passenger seat!

At the front, like the Tang, the Han gets a large infotainment screen that can rotate to landscape mode (for example, to watch a movie on Netflix while charging) or portrait mode, optimizing the system’s playback navigation. The display feels responsive and clear, although we haven’t focused too much on that given the not-very-European specs yet. The model’s technical characteristics are similar to those of the Tang, with a slightly higher recharging power (120 kW DC), 0 to 100 km/h which drops in 3.9 seconds and WLTP autonomy (homologation is still in progress) of 521 kilometers. These better results are the result of a more aerodynamic body and a lower mass… What remains, however, still unknown in Europe: the test models were copies destined for the Chinese market.

The Atto 3 as a European spearhead

These models are attractive, but BYD realizes that it won’t conquer the market with a large SUV, let alone a 4-door model like the Hang. That’s why the brand has high hopes foract 3an SUV measuring almost 4.5 meters in length and aimed at the very popular C-segment SUVs. No, Atto was not a Chinese emperor: it is the smallest subdivision of a second, which scientists have not yet been able to measure… This represents BYD’s perpetual quest to always do better!

More than the name, the Atto impressed us with its contemporary design with original details, both inside and out. It is true that tastes and colors are indisputable… More objectively, the habitability is real and the trunk is quite spacious. This is due to the long wheelbase and limited battery impact.

Atto 3 is based on an entirely new platform, the “e-Platform 3.0”. This one is built around the Blade battery, here with a capacity of just over 60 kWh. This should allow a range (WLTP) of around 420 km. Unlike the Tang and Han, the Atto 3 is a front-wheel drive that combines all powertrain and loading components into a single unit, including the heat pump. On this matter, we have good news: like Tang and Han, this one is delivered as standard! The electric motor delivers 150 kW (204 hp) and can reach 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds. During this little test, the steering wheel was sometimes torn by the arrival of torque on the front axle during hard acceleration, but other than that, there’s nothing to complain about! Remember, however, that this was a brief test on a closed track. For more in-depth testing, it will be necessary to wait for the Paris Motor Show in October. BYD will then reveal the full specifications.

our verdict

While these first tests were brief, the Tang, Han and Atto 3 left us with a positive impression. The on-board technology is top-notch, the workmanship is good, and BYD assembles quality parts. For handling, BYD reassures using recognizable names (Brembo and Bosch, as well as high quality tire manufacturers, which is not always the case elsewhere). European manufacturers should therefore keep an eye on BYD, because if the brand can deliver quickly (given its own management of the entire chain) and if the prices and the buyer’s perception are good, it will be able to score, even in our country. (so there is a distributor)!

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