BYD, Nio, Xpeng and next year also Zeekr and probably also Hongqi and maybe also Ora Cat. Add MG, Aiways, Polestar and if you want Volvo, and there are soon ten Chinese car brands in Sweden! Alrik has test driven three models from BYD – which will start delivering in November. We ask him six quick questions.
What does BYD mean?
Alrik: The name stands for Bulid Your Dreams, and it’s pronounced like BMW: BY D.
What is special about BYD?
Alrik: Unlike most other Chinese electric car manufacturers, BYD is not a young start-up company. The company was founded as early as 1995, when it began to manufacture batteries mainly for telephones and computers. In 2002, car manufacturing started and it is a giant company with nearly 300,000 employees, which also sells electric buses, forklifts, monorail trains, solar cells, battery storage and, not least, electric car batteries. It is the third largest in the world when it comes to electric car batteries.
In 2022, they stopped building cars with only internal combustion engines and now only plug-in hybrids and pure electric cars apply. If you add these together, BYD manufactures more cars than Tesla. In the first half of this year, over 600,000 BYD cars were sold, and it seems that they will end up well over a million this year.
Why buy a BYD?
Alrik: As far as I know, BYD is the only car company that designs and manufactures everything from semiconductors, electric motors, electric car batteries, chargers and control electronics. According to BYD, this should mean that all components are adapted to each other, which should provide high efficiency – as well as short waiting times and, in the end, also good prices.
But what stands out most clearly is their battery technology with the so-called Leaf batteries – LFP batteries: Lithium-iron phosphate batteries without cobalt and low plating of nickel. They must be extremely safe and not catch fire, in addition they can be charged to 100 percent with each charge and their technology must mean that the batteries are not equally sensitive to high and low temperature – good range in winter. But the downside is that charging is not as fast as the fastest and the energy density per kilogram is not as good as for lithium-ion batteries. The blade batteries are now in the entry-level version of the Tesla Model Y and Toyota also buys blade batteries.
What models are coming and how are they to drive?
Alrik: This autumn they are launching three models: a large seven-seater SUV called Tang with over 500 hp and loaded with equipment, a large fast sedan called Han, with the same powertrain and very well equipped, and a mid-range SUV called Atto 3 which will take up the fight with, for example, the Kia Niro-EV.
I have only driven the cars a short distance on an airfield, but the first impressions are that the cars are very well built with fine material choices and good comfort. Both suspension and sound level felt good, although it is difficult to evaluate it on a slightly narrow road on the edge of an airfield. They feel much more traditional and solid in the interior compared to, for example, Tesla, but also far from as sporty to drive. The cars should be able to be ordered from September and deliveries should start in November.
Is there anything you don’t like?
Alrik: As I said, I only got to sample for a short distance, and we will of course test them when the cars come to Sweden. But the fast charging of 88 kW on the Atto 3 does not impress and the other two models top out at around 120 kW – so they are not fast chargers. They state 30-80 percent charging in 30 minutes. I’m not sure how good the navigation is at helping with a route, and as I understand it, only the infotainment system can be upgraded online, not the control hardware.
I also don’t know if you as a buyer get access to better prices on any charging network in Sweden and how it is with service intervals and service prices. The warranty is four years.
What do they cost?
Alrik: That is the really interesting question. We have not received Swedish prices, but they say they should be competitive. My guess is that the cars end up somewhere around the Kia level – a little depending on the equipment. Both the SUV Tang and the large sedan Han are fast and expensive cars that are unlikely to become the brand’s top sellers. That role is probably taken care of by the front-wheel drive Atto 3. But in Norway, the Tang has been the second best-selling SUV in its class, with over 2,000 units sold, so of course it’s all about the price.
Anything else you want to tell us?
Alrik: There will be a detailed test drive report with lots of data and also a test drive film. It’s exciting with all the new car brands that make choosing a car both more difficult and more fun. The competition for customers will really be fierce – and with more competition we can hope for good prices and faster deliveries!
I can imagine a BYD!
Source: Senaste nytt från auto motor & sport by www.mestmotor.se.
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