An all-electric BYD e6 people-mover priced close to $40,000 and a larger SUV based on the BYD Yuan Plus priced under $50,000 will be the first passenger EVs to arrive under a direct-to-consumer auto trader business from Nexport called EVDirect.
A $35,000 electric hatch known as the EA1 – now dubbed the Dolphin in more recent auto reports – is also coming to Australia, along with a next generation Han, an electric sedan. But the first BYD electric vehicle due to be brought to Australia by Nexport will actually be an electric van.
Nexport’s plan to introduce BYD electric vehicles to the Australian market has been much anticipated. Whispers of the EA1 electric hatch priced around $35,000 generated a great deal of excitement, but further details at the time seemed thin on the ground.
Speaking with The Driven, Nexport CEO Luke Todd says the introduction of the BYD vehicles has been dependent on Chinese launch dates, with Covid19 also causing delays. Nexport has also been working with BYD to adapt its electric vehicles to the Australian market to ensure acceptance by local drivers, he says.
This has also led Nexport to bring a launch for the Yuan Plus, that according to consumer feedback will appeal to a wider audience, ahead of the EA1, says Todd. He says to expect a launch date sometime in late 2021.
“Going forward we now have a very clear roadmap of timing – because of feedback, our first (passenger) product that will be mass launched is badged as Yuan Plus in China, and it will have a new name in Australia,” he says.
Models will sport not only new names but also upgrades to suspension, CCS2 charging, making the most of the BYD platforms but with the Australian market in mind, he says.
They will also be fitted with BYD’s Blade battery which it says is the safest on the market.
But first, in just ten days, orders will open for the $35,000 (before on-roads) BYD T3 commercial van, which it says will have 300km driving range according to the NEDC rating (this will equate to around 200km in real life conditions).
Next, a handful of e6 people-movers with 522km NEDC driving range (about 365km real world) priced at $39,950 before on-roads will be brought into the country, says Todd. Interested consumers can reach out EVDirect, and if it proves popular there will be room to import more.
But what about the EA1? “We are reliant on launch dates in China,” says Todd, adding that it has now been “pushed back to 2022”.
It’s now been listed on China’s ministry of industry and information technology (MIIT) website, stating it has an 800-volt charging system, and will be available in two variants (in China at least): a 30kWh BYD Blade battery will offer 301km NEDC range (about 200km real world range) and a longer-range variant with 45kWh battery will offer 405km NEDC range (about 280km real world range).
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As has the Yuan Plus. Records on the MIIT website as reported by Chinese media site Yiche state that the Yuan Plus will be a 4,455mm vehicle with a more resolved styling than BYD’s previous models.
While specs may differ when the vehicle reaches Australia, in its Chinese form it has a 65kW motor with peak power of 150kW.
Joining the above vehicles will be a next-generation Han, says Todd. He describes this premium electric sedan as an “extremely exciting, vibrant vehicle” that is a step up from the vehicle currently imported by Nexport as reported by The Driven in January.
This vehicle – which was described as “bold and aggressive” by IF Design awards after it claimed the winning title in May – will boasting an NEDC range of 605 kilometres (423km real world) and an acceleration of 0 to 100km/hr in just 3.9 seconds.
Nexport says it will open an “experience centre” in coming weeks at The Canberra Centre in the ACT and has more such centres in capital cities planned.
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.