Fast-growing Chinese powerhouse BYD has released its new large plug-in hybrid SUV at home, with a peak electric-only driving range claim of at least 170km, and a potential zero to 100km/h time of 4.7 seconds.
The 4820mm-long BYD Frigate 07 PHEV is about the size of a Kia Sorento PHEV, and slightly larger than a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (4710mm) or Mazda CX-60 PHEV (4740mm).
Updated at 15.30: BYD Australia’s importer has now informed us that the Frigate 07 is not on the immediate radar for this market.
It appears formidable, pairing a 102kW and 231Nm turbocharged 1.5-litre Miller cycle petrol engine with a 145kW and 316Nm front axle drive motor, plus an additional 150kW and 340Nm rear axle motor for the flagship AWD.
BYD’s in-house EHS (Electric Hybrid System) enables both the engine and motor/s to directly drive the wheels depending on circumstance.
The company claims acceleration times of 8.5 seconds for the front-wheel drive grades with the single front motor, and a mere 4.7s for the dual-motor all-wheel drive with reported system outputs of 295kW and 656Nm.
There are two versions of the BYD in-house ‘Blade’ lithium iron phosphate battery available: entry grades have 18.3kWh of storage, while more expensive variants offer a massive 36.8kWh – not far off the capacity of a Nissan Leaf BEV that has no petrol backup.
Thereby it offers a long claimed EV-only range of between 82km (WLTC) and 100km (NEDC) in smaller-battery form, and 170km (WLTC) and 205km (NEDC) for the bigger battery. The AWD twin-motor with bigger battery pares these numbers back to 150-175km respectively.
BYD’s spec sheet shows a fuel tank of 60 litres, suggesting a driving range above 1200km based on efficiency claims of under 5.5L/100km post battery depletion.
The claimed AC charging rate is either 3.3kW on entry models or 6.6kW on up-spec grades, but they can also handle respective DC charging (unlike many other PHEVs) at respective rates of 40kW and 75kW.
There’s also a 6.6kW-discharge vehicle-to-load (V2L) system advertised to power appliances, à la Mitsubishi.
Dynamically speaking, BYD claims to have fitted trick frequency selective dampers to the all-round independent suspension.
Other headline features include a smartphone-key system using NFC, projecting head-up display, a rotating 1080p 15.6-inch display with ultra high-res 360-degree cameras, phone app-controlled automated parking, lane-change assistant highway pilot, and a panoramic sunroof.
We’ve reached out to BYD Australia’s importer EVDirect to enquire whether it will bring a right-hand drive BYD Frigate 07 to Australia – to join the existing Atto 3 BEV, and incoming Seal sedan and Dolphin hatch, also both BEVs.
Prices for the Frigate 07 in China are between 202,800 yuan ($A43,000) and 289,800 yuan ($A61,500) after subsidies.
BYD this month posted Australian sales figures for the first time, with monthly industry VFACTS data showing 845 units of the Atto 3 were counted as sold during November.
Sales of the Atto 3 only resumed in mid-November after a several-week pause related to an Australian Design Rule compliance issue – specifically around ISOFIX anchor points.
Assuming the 845 sales claim is accurate – VFACTS is compiled by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries and claimed to be checked against registration data – the Atto 3 raced straight into number two spot on the EV charts.
BYD is expanding its footprint across Europe and into new markets such as Japan this year. It’s now widely viewed as one of the chief rivals to Tesla globally. It just produced its three-millionth ‘new energy vehicle’ (EV or PHEV) as it scales at exponential pace.
It took the Warren Buffett-backed EV and battery supplier 13 years to sell one million NEVs, one year to hit two million, and just six months to hit three million.
Australian BYD distributor EVDirect says it plans to bring the BYD Seal sedan (a Model 3 rival) and EA1/Dolphin small hatch (potentially opening under $40,000) to market next year. This latter vehicle has already been spotted charging in Sydney wearing light camouflage.
There are further rumours of an impending BYD electric (and potentially plug-in hybrid) ute, with a camouflaged test vehicle doing the rounds on various Chinese media sites.
The brand recently released images of a camouflaged prototype of its upcoming off-roader, which will be sold under the new Yangwang brand. The premium brand will be launched in the first quarter of 2023, with the first model reportedly wearing the R1 nameplate.
Photos reveal the first Yangwang model to be a bluff, upright SUV in the vein of a Land Rover Defender, Mercedes-Benz G-Class or GWM Tank 300. Like those models, the spare tyre is located on the tailgate.