BYD Releasing Its First EV In Australia

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Originally published on RenewEconomy.

BYD, the Chinese company that has emerged as the world’s biggest maker of electric vehicles, is releasing its first EV in Australia, in what is considered to be the most significant development in the local market since the release of the Tesla Model S.

byd_e6_01The BYD E6 electric vehicle will initially charge hire-car and taxi fleets, although it will also make its EVs available to private buyers, according to the Caradvice website.

The E6 is described as a “high-riding, all electric people mover”, with a battery pack of 75kWh, a range of 300kms, and a purchase price of around $80,000.

EV sales in Australia have been slow, with less than 1,000 sold before the end of 2014, although figures have since been boosted by the take-up of the Tesla Model S, which sells from around $140,000 and is now the top selling pure EV model in Australia.

The E6 will be distributed in Australia by transport logistics group Carbridge. CEO Luke Todd told CarAdvice that the Australian market has not yet warmed to auto brands out of China, but the BYD vehicle will submit for safety testing by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), and is confident of obtaining top marks.

BYD sold 62,000 EVs into the Chinese market in 2015 and plans to double that this year. China, which is actively encouraging EVs to reduce pollution, saw sales of 188,000 EVs last year.

BYD is 10 per cent owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

BYD founder and chief executive Wang Chuan-fu told RenewEconomy in January that he expects the global market for EVs to double in each of the next three years, although the company did not see itself as a competitor to Tesla.

“This is not about competition. The market is so huge, it needs more people’s participation in the market. Tesla is targeting high end, there is a bit of an overlap, but we are focusing on electric cars and buses in different markets.”

BYD has cheaper models than the E6, but it is the only BYD model available in right hand drive.

Reprinted with permission.

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Giles Parkinson

is the founding editor of, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.

Giles Parkinson has 596 posts and counting. See all posts by Giles Parkinson

9 thoughts on “BYD Releasing Its First EV In Australia

  • Ooooh. Thats a stinker price. I saw the E6 long time ago at DAS. Its overweight. I recall it uses LiFeP batteries which have lower energy density, but good power density. Same weight as an S, or more, but they didn’t make the motor more powerful. And its steel, not aluminum. All that wouldn’t matter if it was 45k for the thing. But as it is, its too expensive. It needs to compete against existing ICE much less Telsa.
    Shows you how much EV design matters. Even with cheap labor in China you can’t make a competitive EV without great design.
    Too many manufacturers like Kia and GM have the idea that making an EV is just a matter of putting a large enough battery in any old platform and off you go.
    Thats a prescription for a mediocre EV.
    Excellence requires better design than that. With only 2 gallons of gas equivalent in a 70kwhr battery, you have to count your losses very judiciously. And figure out how to apportion your costs appropriately in design.

    • I imagine that BYD has a better sense of how to design and manufacture an EV at this point than everyone bar Tesla. For now, it’s still hard.

      They are focusing on car hire/taxis here (and in the more recent article, trucks/vans in the US), so they appear to be taking a very pragmatic, yet still ambitious, approach to expansion.

    • “2 gallons of gas equivalent in a 70kwhr battery”
      Is that before or after you adjust for the efficiency difference between ICE and EV?

      • Before. A typical car is 25 mpg and one fourth the efficiency. A typical EV is about 100 mpge. So 30 kwhr is about 100 miles. Thing is 30kwhr is hard to come by.

  • $80,000 Aus = $61,600 USD

    • Yes. IMO, thats a bit too much.

      • It is a lot of battery and range. I agree though…might be priced a bit high. :/

  • BYD might make great batteries but I doubt Chinese built EVs will fly anytime soon unless they are clearly for commericial use.

    • I agree that a rebranding would be helpful. I love the BYD name and what it stands for but what’s an E6? I know what it is…but it’s not compelling.

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