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BYD ute in Australia soon

Innovative petrol-electric ute due in local showrooms by end of 2024, before Ranger PHEV

18 Oct 2023

BYD Australia has confirmed it will offer a dual-cab ute in Australia before the end of 2024, and it will not be a fully electric model – instead, a petrol-electric model will be first to arrive, with a full EV due about 12 months later.


Luke Todd, the CEO of the company’s local distributor, EV Direct, has confirmed that a dual-cab ute that could have “more than 1000km of range” will be sold here in about 12 months’ time, as part of BYD’s aggressive model rollout in Australia.


“We will sell and deliver a BYD ute next year,” said Mr Todd.


“So, next year, guaranteed, we will have two more models. Our target is to have two models every year onto the market.


“At the moment it has gone from one to three within 18 months. And then the next model will be a larger SUV. That will be sometime in the first half of next year.


“And then the highly talked about BYD ute. There've been some leaked spy photos this week, which I’m sure you’ve all seen.


“I was in China with the designers last week, and our engineering team has been up there for a month or two. I can tell you that the vehicle is getting designed so well to be suitable for the Australian market, and that’s why we’re making claims that we believe the best in class when it comes out. But that's going to be the second half of next year.”


When asked what kind of powertrains will be offered in the ute model, Mr Todd confirmed the first will be something dubbed DM-i, or dual-motor intelligence, which is broadly referred to as a form of plug-in hybrid EV, or PHEV.


“The first ute that we bring into the country will actually have the DM-i technology,” he said.


“Why this is so important is that the infrastructure right across the country at the moment, we’re doing our best where through a different business we’re launching, EV Switch, we’re bringing 100,000 7kW chargers for really competitive prices, $499.


“That will happen later on in the year.


“But for a lot of Australians, they want to make a transition (to electrification). So, the DM-i technology – we will give you much more information later – it is an electric car, but then we’ve reintroduced a high-quality 1.5 litre turbo [petrol] engine.”


Mr Todd said that the application of that tech in a larger SUV also to be offered here – expected to be the BYD Song – equates to a range of “more than 1000km, about 100 of which will be electric”, Mr Todd said.


In the BYD Song, the brand labels the technology as “Super Hybrid”.


“So, your daily drive is electric. And then you’ve got the freedom to drive to Queensland or Melbourne or wherever you want. So, it’s the best of both worlds,” he said of the technology which sounds suspiciously just like a PHEV.


However, Mr Todd insisted that the powertrain is not a plug-in hybrid, nor a range-extender hybrid system, because it hasn’t taken a petrol vehicle and electrified it. Rather, it has taken an EV and... petrol-fied it?


“These are the first electric to ground-up built electric vehicles that have had petrol reintroduced. Every other hybrid on the market at the moment, plug-in or traditional hybrid, is an (ICE) vehicle that’s had a battery introduced,” he explained.


“This is the complete reverse around, so much that we'’e actually working with government authorities to get our own category. Because this is technology that nobody’s ever seen.


“It’s an ultra-low emissions electric vehicle but having the best of both worlds, as there’s no range anxiety obviously, because you can fill up for your daily drive 100 kilometres full electric, and then switch over to the highly efficient petrol motor if you wish to.


“BYD made it... this is their own technology and nobody else has this technology.”


When asked if the brand could potentially lose customers by not offering an EV ute, Mr Todd confirmed that there will be a fully electric model after the DM-i version launches.


“What we’re about is bringing the best technology to Australia. Now, this is new technology that nobody's ever seen before. And we're talking ultra-low emissions.


“So, yes, it’s not the full electric that we've got on the market at the moment with the three vehicles [Atto 3, Dolphin and Seal], but what it is, it’s an electric-platform vehicle.


“And we will educate Australians on the benefits of this vehicle. There will be some cynics that will say, ‘hey, this is a petrol car’.


“But when they see the emissions ratings, and see that it’s actually a highly efficient vehicle, and they've got the best of both worlds? People will understand the reasons why we've chosen that.


“We’ve got things going on in development. So, the full EV ute will be about a year later than the DM-i.”


Mr Todd also confirmed that the brand has plans to add a seven-seat SUV at a later date, though said that there is not enough info to share just yet on what that might be.


“We’re just getting started,” he said.


BYD has announced that the pricing for its new Seal sedan model range will undercut the best-known electric sedan on the market, too.


The BYD Seal will start from just $49,888 plus on-road costs for the entry-level version, ranging through to $68,798 for the range-topping Performance all-wheel-drive version.

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