BYD ute may be hybrid before electric in Australia

BYD ute may be hybrid before electric in Australia
BYD ute may be hybrid before electric in Australia

The upcoming ute from Chinese car maker BYD is due in showrooms next year with plug-in hybrid propulsion first – ahead of full battery power.

The first dual-cab ute from Chinese car maker BYD – the world’s second-biggest seller of electric vehicles globally – may not be sold in Australia with electric power at first.

The Australian distributor for BYD vehicles has advised its new dual-cab ute – illustrated above and below by Theottle – is on track for a local showroom arrival early next year, pending any delays.

But it is poised to arrive first with plug-in hybrid power – combining a small four-cylinder petrol engine and a large battery pack – ahead of an electric version at a later date.

It will be the first vehicle with a petrol engine sold in Australia by BYD, which has so far focused on full battery-electric vehicles including the Atto 3 small SUV (in showrooms now), Dolphin city hatch (due October 2023) and Seal mid-size sedan (due late 2023).

Although it specialises in electric vehicles in Australia – and is the world’s second-biggest seller of electric vehicles, behind Tesla – about 50 per cent of BYD vehicles sold globally last year were plug-in hybrids.

Luke Todd – the managing director of BYD’s Australian distributor EVDirect – recently told Drive the company’s new ute would “likely” come to Australia first as a plug-in hybrid.

“It’s likely that we’ll bring that [plug-in hybrid] vehicle in first, and then a full electric vehicle in the ute [later],” Mr Todd told Drive.

Mr Todd says the hybrid is “an electric platform vehicle that has a 1.5[-litre] turbo petrol engine put back into it” – rather than a petrol or diesel ute converted to hybrid, and subsequently electric power.

Specifications for both hybrid and electric versions are yet to be revealed, however unverified Chinese reports claim the hybrid may borrow technology from BYD’s new ‘SF’ off-road SUV, for a power output of 500kW.

Driving range of 800km to 1200km for the plug-in hybrid has been reported previously.

The BYD ute is planned to be sold in China alongside the SF SUV under a new brand called ‘Fang Cheng Bao’, which translates to ‘Formula Leopard’.

However Mr Todd confirmed the pick-up will be sold in Australia as a BYD.

While the BYD hasn’t been named at this stage, these digital renderings – with cues taken from spy photos – have been created by artist Theottle to provide an idea of what the ute could look like when it eventually launches.

It appears BYD has taken design inspiration from the Ford F-150 pick-up at the front, while the rear tail-lights have borrowed some styling from the Toyota HiLux.

The executive said the vehicle is being developed with input from BYD Australia: “We have a team of Australian engineers that [went up with] BYD [earlier this month].

Mr Todd would not be drawn on pricing, and if the new BYD ute would undercut Australia’s only factory-built electric pick-up to date, the LDV eT60, priced from $92,990 plus on-road costs.

“What I can tell you is that if you look at our history … we’ve demonstrated that we are able to bring high-quality vehicles into the country at extremely affordable prices, and we’ll be doing the same with the ute,” the executive said.

The post BYD ute may be hybrid before electric in Australia appeared first on Drive.

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