Chinese EV maker BYD launched the Tang electric vehicle in Norway on Tuesday (European time) at an event in Oslo, reaffirming its plans to expand into the wider European market.
The launch represents a major step for the Chinese manufacturer which is aiming to gain a foothold in an industry with tough competition.
BYD first announced it would enter Europe by dipping a toe into EV market leader Norway in May, saying if the Tang EV performs well it would open the door for the introduction of more electric vehicles into more countries on the continent.
As BYD’s first electric vehicle in Europe, the Warren Buffet-backed EV maker is not doing it by halves – the EV maker will release the electric SUV (complete with BYD’s new Blade EV battery, that it first unveiled in March along with plans to sell EV parts to other car makers.
According to BYD, the new Blade battery “significantly elevates safety levels for the EV industry, at the same time reducing the cubic volume of the battery pack by 50%” – a potential game changer in what is becoming an increasingly competitive market as car makers strive for improvements in electric vehicle battery technology.
This marks a fundamental step in terms of performance, and also the safety aspect of an entire electric car industry.
With the combination of modern design and state-of-the-art technology combined with competitive specifications, BYD wants to quickly position itself for a European expansion.
BYD also announces that RSA Group will be the importer responsible for sales, service and parts handling for a range of soon-to-be introduced BYD electric commercial vehicles including an electric panel van, a 7.5 tonne van, a 19 tonne truck and even a tractor.
With 100% emission-free, full-electric buses, BYD has already become a well-known brand name for electric passenger transport on the global market.
“We’re tremendously excited to bring the Tang EV trial project to Norway,” said Isbrand Ho, managing director for in BYD Europe, in a statement.
“This is a very capable car indeed, with impressive performance figures, a game-changing new Blade Battery, robust off-road characteristics and a level of comfort which the driver and whole family will enjoy.
“Our new SUV is an expression of both Chinese culture and state-of-the-art new-energy technology – where eastern philosophy meets western engineering.
“We are looking forward to a successful relationship with RSA …. together, we’re confident that customers will see the strength of our combined product and service offering,” said Ho.
With Europe beginning to emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic, Ho says the addition of the Tang EV to the Norwegian market adds a sense of optimism.
“Europe is starting to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and we are optimistic for the future, in Norway and across Europe. We will adapt a sound strategy to develop the BYD brand,” Ho said.
Frank Dunvold, CEO of RSA, agrees. “Although this is trial project, I have no doubt the Tang EV’s credentials will have enormous appeal to discerning car buyers in Norway and the car will establish itself as a firm favourite,” he said in a statement.
“The SUV sector in particular is highly competitive and it is important that a new entrant to the market can offer some USPs. The Blade Battery, to name but one outstanding new feature, will appeal very much to a safety conscious public.”
For 599,999 NOK ($A90,521) including delivery, Norwegian drivers will at first only be able to buy the “Executive” variant, which includes as standard the sunroof, leather interior, 22-inch aluminum rims, electric tailgate and 360-degree parking camera.
With a battery capacity of 82.8kWh, the BYD Tang currently provides an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/hr in 4.6 seconds and 500 km driving range.
These benefits will be further upgraded when the 2020 model of Tang EV is fitted with BYD’s new Blade Battery, which Tek.no reports will likely pack 86kWh of energy although this has not yet been locked in.
Out on the road, a quick charge at a DC fast charger can increase the battery status from 30% to 80% in just 30 minutes.
Tang EV comes with BYD’s new “Battery Thermal Management System”, which guarantees optimum battery performance regardless of climate, and ensures long battery life.
BYD Tang EV will also come packed with high-tech features, such as a 360º parking camera, remote-controlled parking / key driving (keyless entry and start), and wireless charging for mobile devices.
Safety has been foremost in BYD’s design process of the Tang EV. As many as 15 active and passive security systems are also included, such as Level 2 Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) systems, adaptive cruise control, blind zone alert, file change alert, collision alert and automatic emergency braking.
The Tang EV SUV also offers class-leading comfort; electrically adjustable front seats, both ventilated and heated, with memory function.
A large panoramic glass roof provides plenty of natural light in the interior. LED illumination which can be adjusted in 31 different color tones provides comfortable illumination as the darkness lowers.
Production of BYD Tang EV with European specifications starts in November 2020, with first deliveries to customers planned for January 2021.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.