China’s BYD launches cheaper plug-in hybrid EV to lure customers away from petrol rivals Volkswagen and Toyota

BYDthe world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) maker, has launched a new version of its plug-in hybrid model, the Qin Plus DM-i, which is priced lower than best-selling petrol cars such as Volkswagen’s Lavida and Toyota’s Corolla.

The company, backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, said on Monday that the new variant, known as the Glory Edition, aims to accelerate customers’ conversion from fossil fuel vehicles to electric vehicles in a slowing economy.

The new version starts at 79,800 yuan ($11,086), 20,000 yuan or 20 percent lower than the previous edition. The driving range with just a battery is 55 kilometers.

“The price will make gasoline car assemblers tremble,” BYD said in a statement on microblogging site Weibo. “The Glory Edition will become a benchmark for the Class-A [compact] car segment.”

Visitors view a BYD Seal electric vehicle at the Auto Shanghai show in Shanghai on April 18, 2023. Photo: Reuters

In China, where two in five new cars on the streets are powered by batteries, thousands of young, budget-conscious drivers are looking for low-priced electric cars amid concerns about job prospects and wages.

The new edition is 15 percent cheaper than the entry-level Lavida and almost 40 percent cheaper than the base Corolla.

It also undercuts other hybrid models such as Toyota’s Prius, which retails for 179,800 yuan in its base edition, more than double the price of the Glory Edition.

BYD, the biggest beneficiary of an accelerated pace of electrification on mainland China’s roads, has stepped up efforts to make its mass-market electric cars more affordable to Chinese consumers.

The base version of the Seagull, which can travel up to 305 km on a single charge, competes against a number of low-priced petrol cars, such as the Toyota Yaris, which starts at 85,800 yuan in China.

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BYD has historically been better known for electric cars priced below 200,000 yuan, about 30 percent lower than premium models from Tesla.

The company’s lithium iron phosphate battery packs have proven popular with Chinese drivers and automakers. The battery cells are arranged in such a way that they increase energy density while increasing resistance to overheating.

In 2023, the company handed over 3.02 million pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to customers at home and abroad, an increase of 62.3 percent compared to the previous year.

“Chinese consumers are now favoring low-priced electric cars amid bearish economic prospects,” said Eric Han, senior manager at Suolei, a consultancy in Shanghai. “BYD has the design and manufacturing capabilities to bring value-for-money electric cars to the market to cater to budget-sensitive customers.”

Last month BYD announced that this would happen invest 100 billion yuan in developing smart cars, in an apparent attempt to challenge Tesla and some mainland rivals such as Tesla Nio And Xpeng in the premium EV segment.

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Chinese EV maker BYD launches electric cars in Indonesia

Chinese EV maker BYD launches electric cars in Indonesia

On Sunday, the carmaker, controlled by Chinese billionaire Wang Chuanfu, said in an action plan filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that it will launch a number of premium and luxury models this year.

Last year, BYD unveiled its super-luxury model, the Yangwang U8priced at 1.1 million yuan, as part of its efforts to move up the value chain.
The appearance of the U8 prompted comparisons with the Range Rover among market experts. It accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds, and thanks to the four motors on the wheel side, the vehicle can make so-called “tank turns” and even make “tank turns”.crab walk“sideways.

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