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BYD’s plug-in SUV zaps 5.0-sec sprint barrier

Tangy: BYD Auto’s Tang SUV is powered by a combination of 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine and two electric motors driving both front and rear axles.

Powerful BYD Tang plug-in hybrid SUV uses China’s iron-phosphate batteries

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BYD Auto logo21 Jan 2015

By RON HAMMERTON

CHINESE electric car specialist BYD Auto has launched one of the most powerful plug-in hybrid SUVs in the world, the Tang, that allegedly can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in a Porsche Cayenne-like 4.9 seconds and yet consume just 2.0 litres of petrol per 100km.

And according to Chinese media reports, an even faster Tang Ultimate Edition is apparently on the way, chopping that dash to a mere 4.4 seconds – one tenth of a second faster than the V8 Cayenne Turbo.

At the heart of the BYD Tang is an advanced iron-phosphate battery pack that not only gives the vehicle a range of up to 80km in electric driving mode before it calls on the petrol engine.

The 18kWh battery can even act as a household emergency power supply, providing up to 3kW of electricity at 220 volts in a blackout.

Backed by American billionaire Warren Buffett whose Berkshire Hathaway investment company holds a stake of almost 10 per cent in the Hong Kong-based tech company, BYD is one of the world’s largest producers of batteries for consumer goods such as laptops and mobile phones.

Its BYD Auto spin-off is China’s 15th largest car-maker and producer of the top-selling EV in China, the BYD Qin.

The Tang – named after the Chinese dynasty – is based on the mid-sized BYD S6 that was China’s 10th-ranked SUV in 2014 sales.

The plug-in hybrid version is armed with a 152kW/320Nm turbo-charged four-cylinder petrol engine and two 150kW/200Nm electric motors for a theoretical maximum power and torque output of 376kW and 720Nm.

Like a host of other plug-in hybrids coming on the market, the Tang has one electric motor driving the front wheels and another at the rear for a form of all-wheel drive.

The petrol engine is hooked up to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission developed in house.

The Tang has four driving modes – all electric, full electric/petrol power (Sport), range extender and front-wheel-drive hybrid.

The electric driving mode should make it popular in China’s biggest cities where sales of petrol and diesel vehicle sales are restricted.

BYD Auto’s home city, Shenzhen, in Guandong Province, is the latest major city to cap registrations fossil-fuel-powered cars in a bid to tackle choking pollution and traffic jams.

Apart from making and marketing its own vehicles, BYD has a joint venture with Germany’s Daimler – BYD Daimler New Technology Co – to produce an electric vehicle called Denza for sale in China.

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