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HomeNewsChinese electric-car maker BYD launching in South Africa – What’s coming

Chinese electric-car maker BYD launching in South Africa – What’s coming

The Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker BYD – short for Build Your Dreams – is making its official entry into the South African market.

The first model bound for local roads is the Atto 3 battery-powered crossover which is scheduled to debut sometime in the next two months, as reported by MyBroadband.

BYD is China’s largest EV manufacturer and second in sales only to Tesla, moving 900,000 battery-electric cars in 2022 compared to Tesla’s 1.3 million. Though BYD also produces hybrid vehicles and with all its sales combined, it beat Tesla by roughly 500,000 units for a total of 1.86 million.

The Atto is the second Chinese EV that is in the pipeline for our market, following in the footsteps of the recently-unveiled GWM Ora which will undoubtedly be the BYD’s biggest competitor.

In Australia, the Atto retails from around AU$48,100 (R607,000) for the standard to AU$51,000 (R650,000) for the extended-range model, meaning it has the potential to become the country’s new, most affordable EV.

What to expect

BYD has kept quiet about the local specifications of the upcoming Atto 3, however, the EV is on the road in numerous other left and right-hand-drive markets and its specifications remain consistent between them.

Driving the Atto in Australia is a single electric motor connected to the front axle producing 150kW and 310Nm, allowing it to accelerate from 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds.

The system draws power from either a 50kWh or 60kWh battery depending on whether the standard or extended-range model is chosen, with the smaller module providing a range of 345km on the combined WLTP cycle and a maximum DC charging speed of 70kW, whereas the bigger one takes the driving potential up to 420km and accepts an 80kW DC current.

With a 6.6kW AC home charger, the largest battery recharges from 0-100% in 10 hours and 15 minutes, and the maximum 80kW plug brings the same state of charge in 64 minutes.

Perhaps one of its most useful abilities in the country’s current power crisis, the EV also has a vehicle-to-load (VTOL) mobile power supply function that transforms it into a “super mobile power bank” that supports bi-directional charging up to 3.3kW for devices and appliances when there is an electricity outage.

Standout features inside the Atto consist of a 5-inch digital driver’s display, climate control, multi-colour ambient lighting, a panoramic sunroof, a multifunction steering wheel, heated and electric front seats, and a 12.8-inch “rotating” touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite navigation, and online music streaming through apps such as Spotify.

It additionally sports adaptive LED lights, 18-inch alloys, keyless entry and start, a one-touch tailgate, 360-view cameras, front and rear parking sensors, hill-descent control, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warnings, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert with braking, and front and rear collision warnings.

Combined with seven airbags and ABS with automatic emergency braking, the fitments scored it a 5-star Ancap safety rating.

The EV also offers 440 litres of boot space which can be expanded to 1,340 litres with the rear seats down, and it comes in at 4,455mm long, 1,875mm wide, and 1,615mm tall.

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