The BYD Atto 3, Set To Be Australia’s Cheapest EV, Is Getting a (Slight) Upgrade

The BYD Atto 3, Set To Be Australia’s Cheapest EV, Is Getting a (Slight) Upgrade
The BYD Atto 3. Image: BYD

The BYD Atto 3, set to be Australia’s cheapest EV, is getting heated seats and a small range boost.

As spotted by The Driven, heated front seats seats now come standard on all BYD Atto 3 models. Additionally, the standard model now packs a little extra charge (up by about 20km), although the standard model has been delayed to between November and December.

All BYD Atto 3 models had already been delayed by up to two months prior to this.

A shame, of course, but not one that was unexpected. Delays are rife within the electric vehicle market and BYD had been remarkably radio silent about getting cars on-shore up until now. Extended range models are still expect to arrive in August or September.

It’s a car to be excited for (one with heated seats now). Here’s a rundown on the BYD Atto 3, a challenger EV entering Australia… soon.

The BYD Atto 3 explained

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 consumer 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 claimed range for a cheap EV, about 420km (WLTP) for the extended-range model. The standard range model includes a range of about 345km (WLTP) before needing a recharge.

If you’d like to go and see the BYD Atto 3 for yourself, you’ll be able to at one of 12 retail locations opening in partnership with Eagers Automotive. Here’s where you can check out the Atto 3:

  • New South Wales: Cardiff, Castle Hill, Darlinghurst, Sutherland
  • Queensland: Indooroopilly, Robina
  • Victoria: Brooklyn, Dandenong
  • ACT: Canberra
  • South Australia: Medindie
  • Tasmania: Hobart
  • Western Australia: West Perth

Additionally, these locations will double as pickup spots and service centres. Mycar (a chain of mechanics) locations will also offer servicing. If you live more than 50km from an Eagers location, you can have the car delivered to you (for an additional fee).

BYD Atto 3
The BYD Atto 3. Image: BYD

BYD Atto 3 cost

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, you can expect:

  • NSW starting at $47,110
  • ACT starting at $45,063
  • NT starting at $46,432
  • QLD starting at $45,984
  • VIC starting at $47,131
  • SA starting at $46,784
  • TAS starting at $44,990
  • WA starting at $47,931.
byd atto 3
The BYD Atto 3. Image: BYD

BYD Atto 3 range

The standard BYD Atto 3 features a range of 345km (WLTP) in the standard model and a range of 420km (WLTP) in the extended-range model.

Previously, the WLTP range of the standard range model was 325km, but it was bumped up recently. This was spotted by The Driven.

The BYD Atto 3 battery, explained

But, sorry, let’s talk about the range some more — 400km is terrific for that price, so we’re a bit sceptical.

“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 (which has a new model coming this month) 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

BYD Atto 3 detailed specs

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.

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.

When will we see the BYD Atto 3 on the road?

At the time of writing, the BYD Atto 3 standard range model has been delayed to between November and December. The Atto 3 was originally meant to arrive in July, although earlier this month it was delayed to August and September (extended range models will steel arrive during this period). EVDirect claims that 90 per cent of customers have purchased the extended range model.

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