SAMPLE: BYD Atto 3 – hard bids from China

Premium During the last quarter of the year, Chinese BYD makes its entry into Europe, with the Tang, Han – and Atto 3 models that we drive here. Does the compact electric car have the potential to become a bestseller?

You may be forgiven if you’ve never heard of BYD, although you’ve probably already used their products unknowingly on your mobile, laptop or smartwatch. BYD is one of the world’s largest battery producers.

Since 2003, they have also expanded their operations with a department for car manufacturing, and their products in particular will gain market share in Europe during the last months of the year. Surprisingly, they choose a conservative sales concept and cooperate with the Swedish Hedin Group, which becomes a retailer.

The Atto 3 model will play a central role in connection with the market introduction. With a length of just over 4.45 meters, the Atto 3 plays within the outer limits of the compact market and should attract above all ID.3 and EQA customers.

If you are tired of Volkswagen’s dreary interior design, you will find in the Atto 3 a colorful mixture of vegan leather, more or less high-quality plastic and guitar string design in the door sides. The design may not be to everyone’s taste, but one thing is certain: it is not boring.

The interior is very colorful and funky. But there is plenty of space here, and a fast infotainment system with crystal clear graphics.

The same also applies to driving, thanks to a front-mounted electric motor with a brisk 204 hp, the Atto 3 completes the classic sprint to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds. With 310 Nm available, the acceleration is electric car-
typically strong, but somewhat delayed here. Wheel spin is effectively stopped by the electronics.

On our first, short test run at a small airport, the Atto’s chassis feels extremely soft. It does increase comfort, but even at low cornering speeds the car tips over.

In addition, we would have liked more precision and firmness from the light and completely emotion-free steering. Another teasing detail: the acoustic pedestrian protection is clearly heard in the passenger compartment.

The model is sold as Yuan since 2021 in China. In the middle of the car sits a Blade battery with a capacity of 60.5 kWh.

The name comes from the long cells that are shaped like a sword blade that sit one after the other across. Compared to conventional battery models, the Blade battery has few cells, which, however, are much larger than the ones we are used to.

In addition, the cells are of the lithium iron phosphate (LFP) type and therefore does not require problematic raw materials such as cobalt. As the icing on the cake, the cells are fireproof and should, in addition, have a longer service life.

On the downside, the energy flow is less efficient than in conventional lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt-oxide (NMC) batteries, which means that the Blade batteries do not absorb or release energy at the same rate. It becomes clear when you look at the charging effect: at most, the car’s 400 V system can be charged with 88 kW – below average.

The charging time to top up from 30 to 80 percent is listed at a comfortable 29 minutes. On a long journey, you therefore have time to drink at least fifteen cups of coffee.

At the own wall box, you charge three-phase with a maximum of 11 kW. If the wallbox only supports single-phase charging (i.e. a charging power of only 3.6 kW), it will therefore take quite a while before the battery is full again. At least the Atto 3 has a heat pump as standard equipment.

You sit quite high in the front seats but comfortable on soft integral seats. The adjustment possibilities of the seat and the steering wheel are sufficient for most needs, although the headroom has its limits due to the standard fitted glass roof.

BYD has invested in a large central screen that can be rotated and used just like the mobile phone in portrait and landscape mode using haptic buttons. The car’s various driving modes and the regeneration settings can be adjusted using buttons behind the gear selector, and the steering wheel buttons for the voice control and assistance systems are also easy to reach.

Overall, using the car’s primary and secondary functions is surprisingly easy. The touch screen, like Android mobiles, also has home, back and menu buttons. In addition, the car and climate settings can be accessed directly via dedicated buttons.

The blade battery consists of large, elongated LFP cells arranged according to the cell-to-pack principle.

If you use yourself instead the menu structure of the infotainment system makes use somewhat more complicated, but on the other hand, the system works quickly and shines with a high image update and very fine resolution. The car should also have intelligent voice control, but at the moment it still takes a few hours in the SFI course for us to be satisfied.

Although the choice of materials does not feel cheap, we unfortunately find some flaws in the composition: the A-pillar’s lining does not quite want to fit in, some buttons have a strange fit, just like some interior panels.

In the back seat, however, you have plenty of room for your knees and head, even if you are taller than average. Admittedly, you sit far down in the soft seat cushions, but at least there is room for your feet under the front seats. The luggage compartment is also very variable thanks to a removable cargo floor and holds between 440 and 1,338 liters of luggage.

The only thing that ultimately remains is the price picture, but here BYD is unwilling to cooperate. Nor does Hedin Bil have any information. So we will have to wait and see how the Atto 3 stands up to the tough competition in the compact segment.

PRESS RELEASE: Prices are now official, see article here!

BIGGER AND FASTER

BYD Tang (far back) and BYD Han

In addition to the Atto 3, BYD also has the seven-seat SUV Tang and the Han sedan in the range.

With its length of 4.87 metres, the former has a huge amount of space for passengers and luggage (235 – 940 – 1,655 litres). Twin electric motors generate a system power of 516 hp and accelerate the 2.5-ton car to 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds. The energy is drawn from a blade battery of 86.4 kWh. The WLTP range is stated at 400 km with a consumption of just over 21 kWh/100 km.

The car’s standard-mounted 22-inch wheels noticeably affect rolling comfort, while the car’s chassis is noticeably soft. The steering suffers from the same ailment as in the Atto 3, i.e. an almost complete lack of feel and feedback. The interior, on the other hand, feels high-quality and pleasant.

In Norway you can already buy the Tang, but it costs more fully equipped than the admittedly not sparingly equipped Skoda Enyaq RS or Tesla Model Y Performance.

BYD Han measures barely five meters in length and uses its cw value of low 0.23 to squeeze significantly more kilometers out of the same powertrain as the Tang (same engines, battery capacity is 1 kWh lower), namely 521 km according to the WLTP cycle.

The sprint from 0 – 100 km/h should be completed in 3.9 seconds. The sedan’s adaptive dampers have been developed in collaboration with German ZF and make a good first impression, even if the steering once again feels lifeless. In the front seats, you sit strangely high and the impression of sitting in the car is replaced by the impression of sitting on the roof. The interior focuses on high-gloss luxury with decent build quality. However, the Swedish prices are not yet clear.

PROCESSING: Tobias Mersinger /// PHOTO: BYD


Source: Senaste nytt från auto motor & sport by www.mestmotor.se.

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