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BYD Atto 3
The BYD Atto 3. Image courtesy of BYD South Africa.


The BYD Atto 3 Is Priced Similar To Some Popular 5-Seater ICE SUVs In South Africa

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The BYD Atto 3 is now available in South Africa. It was launched last Friday in Johannesburg. The Atto 3 will have 2 models in South Africa, a 49.92kWh Standard Range model starting from R768,000, and a 60.48kWh Extended Range model. Both models have BYD’s Blade Battery. The Extended Range Version starting from R835,000.

Both models have a 150kW/310Nm permanent magnet synchronous motor, front-wheel drive, and acceleration of 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds. The Standard Range has a 345 km WLTP range, and the Extended Range version has a 420km WLTP range. AC charging is up to 7kW with a Type 2 connector, and DC charging is up to 70kW/80kW (CCS2), respectively.

BYD Atto 3

The Atto 3 is a C-class SUV constructed on BYD’s e-Platform 3.0. Let’s have a look at 9 similar 5-seater SUVs that are priced between R700,000 and R800,000 to see where the ATTO 3 slots in.

Data from CARmag, BYD

The list is not exhaustive, and I have selected a few of the popular 5-seater small- to medium-sized SUVs that are available in South Africa right now, with the exception of the all new Volvo EX30 which will be available from early next year (however, one can already place an order in South Africa now).

The list illustrates some significant progress for the South African EV space, as recently as just two months ago, there was not a single battery-electric SUV/crossover in the R700,000 to R800,000 price range, and now we have 2 options, the Standard Range Atto 3, and the Volvo EX30. The Extended Range Atto 3 falls outside this range, landing at R835,000, but before last month there was not a single EV crossover/SUV in his price range. Most of the EVs available in South Africa before then were the larger and more premium SUVs starting from over R1.2 million, with quite a few of them going for over R1.7 million rand and into the upper R2 million price bracket.

BYD Atto 3

From the table above, it is clear to see that the BYD Atto 3 and the Volvo EX30 are priced competitively to similar ICE models. The upfront price difference between some of these popular ICE models and the BEVs is less than $2,000, and given the lower maintenance and fueling costs associated with BEVs, this may swing a lot more people looking to buy a vehicle in this segment to opt for the Atto 3 and the Volvo EX30 than to buy an ICE vehicle. And this in a market without any incentives for BEVs! Imagine if some incentives were introduced.

BYD Atto 3

Interest in electric cars is growing in South Africa. A survey included in last year’s Auto Trader South Africa’s Buyers Survey report showed that over 70% of South Africans would be interested in switching to electric if they had the option to buy an electric vehicle that costs less than R500,000. Generally, only one EV model can be found priced below R500,000, which is a used 7-year-old Nissan Leaf for about R380,000. The first generation Nissan Leaf was discontinued in South Africa a few years ago, and the second generation Leaf was not sold in South Africa. The most listed electric vehicle is the BMW i3, for around R660,000. The high import duties and taxes levied on EV imports do not help, and hopefully the South African government will address this sooner rather than later. There is some progress at least with the arrival of the BYD Atto 3, but its pricing would also be so much better if the duties and taxes were reduced. I’m looking forward to seeing which models will follow after the Atto 3 in the near future.

Images courtesy of BYD South Africa.

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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.


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