The ‘Japan EV Of The Year 2023’ was a Chinese-made BYD

Another BYD model managed to take third place, while second place was taken by a Korean-made Hyundai.

BYD Dolphin wins BYD Dolphin wins

Japan is an industrial juggernaut and has long been one of the world’s largest auto exporters. Despite this, the country’s interest in fully electric cars is extremely low. In the first half of 2023, only 2% of Japan’s new car sales were represented by pure battery EVs (excluding hybrids). The fact that local automakers like Toyota and Honda only offer a handful of battery-powered models on their turf is also not helping growth in adoption rates. And this is where the Chinese car manufacturers come into the picture. Once more.

Particularly BYD, which not only just won the top prize at the 2023 Japan EV of the Year Awards, but also secured a third-place model.

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Japanese automakers are lagging behind in electric cars

For many reasons, including energy challenges in their home market, Japanese automakers are widely regarded as lagging behind in electric vehicles compared to China, Korea and even the US and Europe. Now that they are losing ground to electric cars in key markets, they are trying to catch up.

The 2023 Japan EV of the Year Award was organized by the EV industry media EVsmart and energy advisor Enechange, where the candidates received votes from journalists and readers. To be fair, their list of contenders this year included examples from many countries; the Volkswagen ID.4, the Tesla Model S, X and 3, Fiat 500e and Hyundai Kona were among the jury’s choices. Last year, the popular electric compact Nissan Sakura won top honors.

MarchHe BYD Dolphin The all-electric compact hatchback took first place in the competition this time, with the automaker noting that the Japan-specific version of the EV is slightly shorter in height than the variants sold in other markets to fit into the mechanical parking facilities which are commonly found in Japan.

The BYD Atto 3 crossover, the Chinese company’s first model launched in Japan, ranked third in the same competition with 145 points. The South Korean-made Hyundai Kona EV took second place with 151 points, while the BYD Dolphin scored 241 points.

But perhaps more telling was the scarcity of Japanese models during this year’s test. Of the 18 contenders, only four were Japanese: the Lexus RZ and then three electric work trucks.

And first and third place are another feather in BYD’s cap. Last year it became China’s largest automaker and the world’s largest plug-in car maker, surpassing Tesla. It has a diverse portfolio of battery-powered cars, starting with a budget city EV and all the way up to a flagship sedan.

As Japanese automakers begin to lose market share in an increasingly electric China, Chinese exports are catching on like wildfire in other countries – sometimes with their ability to adapt to local tastes.

For example, in Europe the Dolphin has a height of 61.81 inches (1,570 millimeters), while in Japan it is 61.02 inches (1,550 mm). In the Land of the Rising Sun, the compact EV is available with a battery pack of 44.9 kilowatt hours or 58.56 kWh, for a WLTC-estimated range between 400 kilometers and 476 kilometers. It also features a vehicle-to-load (V2L) function, allowing owners to export up to 1.5 kW of power from the high-voltage battery to appliances or tools using an adapter.

The starting price of the BYD Dolphin in Japan is approximately $24,500 (3,630,000 yen). For comparison, the Mitsubishi eK . .

The Atto 3, which competes with the Tesla Model Y, starts at around $30,500 (4.5 million yen) in Japan and comes with a 58.56 kWh battery pack that provides a WLTC-rated driving range of 292 miles (470 km) makes possible.

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