Battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles are called New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) in China. BYD is the leader in terms of NEV sales worldwide. Last year, BYD sold 1,868,543 NEVs. These sales were made up of 911,140 BEVs and 946,239 plug-in hybrids, which means that full BEVs accounted for 48.8% of BYD’s NEV sales in 2022. Note that BYD stopped making full internal combustion engine vehicles early last year. BYD’s has several models under the “Dynasty” series, such as the Han and the Tang. There is also the “Ocean” series, which has the Dolphin and the Seal amongst others.
5 Biggest Sellers of Plug-in Vehicles in World (2022)
There is a belief in some circles that affordable plug-in hybrids will be the ones that will really start eating into the market share of full ICE vehicles in China. There is also a strong belief that many families that do not yet own cars in China may be more comfortable starting with a plug-in hybrid than a full BEV for now. Perhaps this is one of the reasons BYD is continuing with its range of “Super Hybrids” in its DM-i (Dual Mode Intelligent) and DM-p (Dual Mode but more powerful all-wheel drive) range. These DM models are paired with a 1.5L turbo petrol engine, which brings up a lot of discussion in many forums as to why BYD is insisting on PHEVs when it really should go full BEV across its lineup. These DM models look like they will be a major part of BYD’s portfolio for a while, and BYD refreshes these models quite regularly.
BYD’s latest release of its updated range of PHEVs is now starting at prices that are lower than some popular full ICE vehicles, as seen from the new Qin Plus DM-i Champion Edition, which is now cheaper than a comparable full ICE Toyota Corolla. The response to the new QIN PLUS DM-i has been quite good, as apparently BYD received over 15,000 orders of this model very quickly after the launch.
Whilst BYD’s new range of BEV models — such as the Dolphin, ATTO 3, and Seal — are relatively well known now outside China as BYD pushes ahead with its aggressive overseas expansion program, the plug-in hybrids are not well known in these markets. The ATTO 3 has been launched in several markets, such as England, Belgium, Germany, New Zealand, Israel, Malaysia, Thailand, and Australia. Outside of South America and a few other places, however, the DM models are not as well known as BYD’s full BEVs. So, let’s take a closer look at some of these BYD plug-in hybrids — even though they tend to divide opinion in EV circles, with many wanting to see them gone from the world stage for several reasons such as:
- Modern BEVs have much longer range than previous generations, making plug-ins unnecessary from now on even as a transition option.
- Most legacy OEMs have been producing ‘compliance’ models with little battery packs that barely get up to 35 km in all electric mode.
- There is no need for complicated dual mode systems of ICE plus electric powertrains in this day and age that will give owners issues down the line.
- Charging infrastructure is now more developed than before, and growing.
Most people would have has more experience with plugless hybrids, such as the Prius, coming with tiny batteries, and this is probably why quite a lot of people are not a fan of plug-in hybrids and believe they should be phased out. It’s pretty common to see comments like, “Oh, BYD sold X number of EVs but how many of those are BEVs?”
The other side of the coin in discussion relates to the fact that in a lot of places around the world, and especially in the developing world, there pretty much isn’t any charging infrastructure yet, especially on highways for road trips. A lot of these places still have weak grids and experience frequent power cuts. There is a belief, then, that the DM-i and DM-p models with ranges of over 100 km in electric mode could provide value in these areas where people will be able to charge the batteries in their homes for their general daily commutes in the city and then be in a position to comfortably take long road trips where there aren’t any public chargers as yet.
Some of the models in BYD’s Ocean & Dynasty DM-i and DM-p series include:
The DM-i models are already being exported to South America. Perhaps they could be an option for Africa too. Legacy OEMs are starting to aggressively market plugless hybrids in several African countries. Plugless hybrids are also coming into African countries in numbers as used vehicle imports. That’s about 8 years or more, some with mechanical problems as well as battery problems, giving owners headaches. Perhaps more modern, longer range plug-in models such as the DM models from BYD could play a better role in the transition than the new wave of brand new plugless hybrids being promoted on the continent.
A lot of marketing has also gone into promoting plugless hybrids, and sales are growing here in Southern Africa, including in the used vehicle import market. Quite a few people call me and say “hey, I have gone electric, I got a hybrid, but I am not saving as much fuel as I expected.” Then when you see the car and it’s a plugless hybrid, you have to explain to them the differences between a plug-in hybrid and a plugless hybrid. In 2023, OEMs really need to be pushing more BEVs, or at least longer range plug-in hybrids. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.
Images courtesy of BYD
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