BYD Is Bringing Its Cheap Electric SUV With up to 480km Range to Australia

BYD Is Bringing Its Cheap Electric SUV With up to 480km Range to Australia
The BYD Atto 3. Image: BYD

The BYD Atto 3, a compact SUV that looks like a mix between a Tesla and an MG, is now available for preorder in Australia.

Although the vehicle won’t arrive for a prospective buyer for at least five months (with an expected delivery set for July if you order today), you can now order the car online.

BYD is a relatively new car company, hailing from China and standing for “Build Your Dreams”. Originally, it was thought that a “sub-$35,000” would be the first BYD vehicle to come to the Australian market.

The BYD Atto 3 SUV promises a lot – despite still not being all that cheap compared to petrol cars, the Atto 3 does have a massive range for a cheap EV, between about 420km and 480km for the extended-range model. The standard range model includes a range of between 320km and 400km before needing a recharge.

BYD Atto 3
The BYD Atto 3. Image: BYD

The BYD Atto 3 also closely rivals the price of cheaper electric vehicles in Australia, including the Nissan Leaf, the Hyundai Kona and the MG ZS EV.

Starting at a base price of $44,381 and $47,381 for the extended range model (excluding state incentives and specific costs), the Atto 3 undercuts the Leaf and the Kona by quite a lot ($53,190 and $57,419 respectively). The price is almost on par with the MG ZS EV, which starts at $44,990.

State prices vary, like for most cars. For the cheaper model, the NSW price starts at $47,110, the ACT price is $45,063, the Northern Territory price is $46,432, the Queensland price is $45,984, the Victorian price is $47,131, the South Australian price is $46,784, the Tasmanian price is $44,990 and the WA price is $47,931.

byd atto 3
The BYD Atto 3. Image: BYD

But, sorry, let’s go back to range – 400km is terrific for that price, so we’re a bit skeptical.

“The technology inside the battery (of the BYD Atto 3) which is proprietary, it’s called the Blade Battery, is really what the heart and the secret component is to why, at the price point, we can deliver vehicles that have such a range,” Luke Todd, the CEO of EvDirect, told Gizmodo Australia. EvDirect is the company distributing the BYD Atto 3 in Australia.

“BYD has been manufacturing batteries for more than 20 years. They’re a major supplier to most of the world’s mobile phone battery supplies so BYD started as a battery company, but then evolved into electric buses, transportation, a whole range of other things.

“There’s no nickel or cobalt in the latest BYD battery, they will have a life cycle of more than 1 million kilometres, underpinned by a seven-year 160,000km warranty. The reality is that the batteries will far exceed that range.”

The MG ZS EV has an expected range of about 220km, whereas the range of the Nissan Leaf starts at about 225km (before you upgrade to the E+ model, which costs an additional $14,000) and the range of the Hyundai Kona starts at about 250km (before upgrading to the Highlander model for an additional $7,000). The cheapest Atto 3 is said to almost double the expected range of its closest competitors.

It’s only when you get to the Tesla Model 3 that you start to get a similar range, which starts at about 380km for $59,900. The Polestar 2, which we reviewed, has a range expectation of about 350km for $59,000. We’ve pulled range expectations from EV-database for these vehicles, however you’ll find that manufacturers quote different numbers (such as the Tesla Model 3 being capable of about 491km on a full charge and the Polestar 2 being capable of between 440km and 474km).

It has been expected that EVs will hit range parity with petrol vehicles by 2024 and price parity by 2030, so this is a pretty big deal.

byd atto 3
The interior of the BYD Atto 3. Image: BYD

Let’s get into some more detailed specs. A front-wheel-drive SUV, The Atto 3 is powered by a “Blade Battery”, which has a capacity of 50.1 kWh in the cheaper model and a capacity of 60.4 kWh in the more expensive model. The maximum power of both models is 150kW and the maximum torque is 310Nm.

The car comes with AC and DC charging capability, along with a 220v emergency charging cable and 90-minute charging capability with an 80kw. As reported by Drive, the car hasn’t been ANCAP-rated yet.

Internally, the car has 60/40 split-fold rear seats with 1,330 litres of boot space and five seats. There’s also a wireless phone charger and a touch-pad display (with Bluetooth and phone connectivity). The car is entered, turned on and locked by a card key.

The car is 4,455mm long, 1,875mm wide, 1,615mm tall, with a permanent magnet synchronous motor, capable of 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds.

You’ll be able to order the BYD Atto 3 in three colours in Australia – white (at no additional cost), grey (for $700) or Blue (also $700). The car comes with 18-inch alloy wheels and a two-tone interior.

If you’re interested in the BYD, you’ll need to order it exclusively from EvDirect.