Atto 3 SUV will lead charge for Chinese EV specialist BYD




Local News

Chinese EV brand BYD will enter the New Zealand market by the end of September with a pureelectric compact SUV called Atto 3. It will be followed by four new EVS over the next two years: a brace of battery electric vehicles (BEVS) and two plug-in hybrids. BYD is being distributed by Ateco Automotive NZ, which currently handles some Stellantis models: Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Jeep. BYD NZ manager Warren Willmot calls it a “once-in-a-generation brand . . . that will introduce electric vehicles to replace Ice-powered vehicles when it comes to convenience, sustainability and cost”. Exactly what cost is not yet revealed. The company says it will announce further details about vehicle specification and the dealer network in the weeks to come, but has confirmed the SUV will be available in two battery sizes, with ranges of 320km and 420km (WLTP). It also says the car will be eligible for the full BEV $8625 Clean Car Discount, which applies to sub-$80k models. BYD (it stands for Build Your Dreams) Auto’s parent company is a battery specialist, developing not only automotive products but buses, bicycles, forklifts and solar panel systems. The automotive division is China’s seventh largest carmaker and the number one producer of new energy vehicles (NEVS, or vehicles not powered solely by internal combustion engines). BYD says its proprietary “Blade Battery” is central to its EVS. It uses thinner and longer cells, with more surface area, making it more compact than existing lithium-ion vehicle batteries. But BYD claims the real advance is in safety: in the industry standard nail penetration test (which simulates a short circuit), the Blade Battery did not emit smoke or fire and the surface temperature did not rise above 60 degrees.