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These affordable new hybrids can travel 2,000km on a single tank

BYD unveiled a new hybrid powertrain capable of traveling more than 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) without recharging or refueling, intensifying the EV transition competition with the likes of Toyota and Volkswagen.

The upgraded tech, which aims to put more distance between BYD and its rivals, will be launched in two sedans immediately that cost under 100,000 yuan (R259,000), the automaker said at an event live-streamed Tuesday evening from China.

The longer range means some of BYD’s dual-mode plug-in electric hybrid cars can cover the equivalent of Singapore to Bangkok, New York to Miami, or Munich to Madrid on each charge and full tank of gas.

The milestone marks BYD’s latest achievement in slashing fuel consumption since introducing its first hybrids in 2008.

Shenzhen-based BYD has upended China’s auto market with widespread price cuts — at some expense to its own profitability — and the positioning of the long-range hybrids may further stoke the price war.

The company sold 3 million cars last year and has delivered almost 1 million this year through April.

One of every two hybrids sold in China is a BYD, underlining the extent to which they’re a key revenue and profit driver for the manufacturer.

BYD’s Hong Kong-listed shares rose as much as 4% on Wednesday.

Automakers globally are trying to ease consumers’ range anxiety while offering vehicles that are better for the environment.

Toyota unveiled prototypes on Tuesday of a new generation of internal combustion engine that can run on hydrogen, gasoline or other fuels, alongside batteries.

During the event, BYD claimed that in tests, its plug-in hybrid managed to achieve as much as 2,500 kilometers of range.

For now, the upgrades are destined for made-in-China cars, but they’re likely to be exported soon.

Electric and hybrid vehicles alike are pushing the boundaries on range to tackle what some consumers still see as a detraction when switching from gas.

BYD stopped producing cars powered entirely by fossil fuels in early 2022 and has been ramping up hybrid exports to emerging markets that lack battery-charging infrastructure.

The first two vehicles to come with its the long-range capabilities are mid-size sedans — the Qin L and the Seal 06 — that BYD unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show in April.

They’re part of the Dynasty and Ocean series, respectively.

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