Chinese electric car and battery maker BYD has announced it will enter the European market, starting with its all-electric Tang EV600 which will be released onto the already EV-rich Norwegian market.
If all goes well, it will then turn to the broader European market with an eye to introducing not only passenger electric vehicles but also its range of light commercial vehicles and a range of electric trucks.
BYD reported a major slump in sales in the first quarter of 2020, largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but following on a previous drop in sales after the Chinese government cut electric vehicle subsidies in mid-2019.
Isbrand Ho, managing director for BYD in Europe, says the decision to enter the Norwegian market, where 7 in 10 new cars are electric, was a natural decision.
“Norway is the most advanced market in Europe when it comes to the widespread adoption and usage of electric vehicles, as well as possessing a comprehensive charging network,” said Isbrand in a statement.
“We will closely evaluate how the market performs, but, in the longer term, it is our aim to expand passenger car sales beyond Norway.”
Upon reporting its losses for Q1 2020, BYD also remarked that it expects a 24% increase in sales for the entire half of 2020 despite the disappointing first quarter.
It entry into the European market, where tightening vehicle emissions restrictions are encouraging growth in zero and low emissions vehicle sales, could play a significant role in future profits.
“We are delighted to be expanding our portfolio with the addition of these new pure-electric vehicles,” said Isbrand.
“This is another milestone in our commitment to protect the environment, contributing to the reduction of emissions and to cleaner air in Europe.”
The 100% electric second-generation Tang EV600 AWD compact SUV with 82.8kWh battery offers 520km driving range based on the NEDC cycle. Although official pricing for Norway has not yet been announced, Isbrand believes it will prove appealing to European drivers.
“During our marketing trial, we are confident that the BYD Tang’s range, design, practicality and high-level technology will appeal to discerning European buyers,” said Isbrand.
“We are on track also to introduce BYD eTrucks this year, with a range of full-electric vehicles including a panel van, a 7.5-tonner, a 19-tonner and a yard tractor.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.