China’s BYD, which is pushing into Australia through a distributor called Nexport, plans to take pre-orders for a new small electric SUV called the Yuan Plus from October this year.
The battery-electric crossover should line up against fellow Chinese EV, the MG ZS, and the new Hyundai Kona Electric Standard Range at the cheaper end of the burgeoning electric SUV market.
Official details are a little thin on the ground, but the 4455mm long Yuan Plus uses a 150kW and 330Nm electric drive motor according to a declaration to the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
A range of 500km has been spoken about but we’d expect the WLTP (European-standard) figure, relatively reliable in the real world, will be a bit lower. Regardless, it’s expected to outgun the two rivals listed above in this metric.
BYD’s new e-platform 3.0 for EVs that’ll underpin the Yuan Plus can offer up to 800V charging capacity in some applications and uses the company’s proprietary lithium-ion phosphate Blade Battery – the very ones that reports suggest Tesla wants to use.
BYD is better-known in the west as a maker of electric buses and battery packs, and for many years has counted Warren Buffett as a major investor. But it’s presently rolling out its cars beyond China to Europe, Australia and elsewhere.
As flagged above, the Yuan Plus will be imported by a company called Nexport, BYD’s official distributor for this market, and sold directly online through its EVDirect.com.au site. The company has big plans in Australia through this direct-to-consumer website.
While we still have questions to ask, we do know that Nexport is currently selling the $35,000 (before on-road costs) BYD T3 electric van and $40,000 BYD E6 electric MPV.
In addition to the Yuan Plus here, Nexport has also pledged to sell the BYD EA1 (Dolphin in China) small EV hatch pictured below from 2022 with a target price of $35,000 and a focus on ride-share operators.
If all comes to plan, and it’s offering a direct-to-consumer range of EVs comprising the EA1 hatch, Yuan Plus SUV, T3 van and E6 MPV all priced below the $40,000 before on-road costs range, it could be a bit of a game changer.
Nexport is a part of the TrueGreen Group investment fund, and supplies electric buses to the New South Wales government.
TrueGreen’s Mobility division recently received a $20 million injection from Australia’s St Baker Energy Investment Fund, which lists in its portfolio EV battery developer Novonix, public EV charge provider Evie, and Australia’s DC charger ‘unicorn’ Tritium – destined for the Nasdaq.
This affiliation with Evie and Tritium theoretically opens the door to offering BYD EV owners charging solutions at their bases of operation, and access to a growing public charger network.
We’ve reached out twice to BYD’s Australian importer for an update on the Yuan Plus, specifically around pricing, range, and servicing plans.
The company has previously told us it’s “establishing a robust national platform for all post-sale maintenance and support services with a range of partners”.
Stay tuned for more… In the meantime you can catch up on our previous Nexport/BYD stories below.
MORE: BYD T3 van becomes Australia’s cheapest electric car
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MORE: BYD promises to slash Australian electric car prices