Around 40 all-electric BYD e6 hatchbacks – the same model which was put into service by electric taxi company eTaxiCo, owned by Nexport, in 2020 – have been spotted, apparently mothballed, in a carpark at Sydney airport.
The images of the vehicles have come light shortly after the announcement by Nexport that it had received its first substantial order under a memorandum of understanding for electric cars in Australia from vehicle subscription company Splend.
Believed to be the largest single of its kind in Australia, the Splend MoU will see Nexport supply 3,000 electric vehicles from early 2022, although it has not specified which models will fill the order.
Nexport has also launched a direct-to-consumer business called EVDirect that it says will make five all-electric models available to Australian drivers without the need to go through a dealer.
In a recent interview with The Driven, CEO of Nexport and its parent company TrueGreen Mobility Luke Todd said that three models priced under $A35,000 including an electric EA1 hatchback would be made available through EVDirect.
At the end of May Nexport also said it will start selling BYD T3 electric vans in Australia by September, also for under $A35,000.
But before all that, Nexport imported the e6 electric hatch. A search of the federal government’s Road Vehicle Certification System (RVCS) website shows that it was approved for road use in Australia with a 90kW motor as early as March 2016.
The majority of the vehicles shared in the photos to The Driven show that they are branded with “Go-Zero”, another company listed under the Nexport banner in press releases but which has very little, if any, online presence.
The e6 has been used as a taxi vehicle in fleets around the world, including China and the US, although reports suggest that in 2011 BYD was planning to launch the e6 with a 60kWh battery for just $US35,000 – a tiny amount considering the cost of battery manufacture at the time.
An enquiry to the company was not responded to at the time of writing as the reason the vehicles have been mothballed, nor about further details of the $A35,000 hatchback that was loudly touted during the recent Shanghai motor show.
An RVCS search shows four vehicles currently registered under the BYD make name, including two buses, the e6 and the T3 electric van.
It is understood that 12-15 e6 vehicles were deployed to the eTaxiCo fleet in 2020, but there is little information available about how to book one of the vehicles which were originally operating on Sydney’s northern beaches.
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 since 2018. She 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.