One Finite Planet

BYD Atto 3 / Yuan Plus: The first 3rd wave EV arrives in Australia, and then the world.

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The Atto 3 (or Yuan Plus) is not only EV giant BYD's, first global car, but the first 3rd wave EV for the west, heralding EVs move from 'rich man's toys' to mainstream, and unless the 3rd wave Tesla arrives soon, could end the dominance of Tesla and even challenge to become the world's top selling vehicle.

While BYD has exported cars before, the Atto 3 is based on the "global focused" e-platform 3.0, and with a more significant, launch into larger markets than previous BYD tentative exports, should spearhead the international push of the world's largest new energy vehicle maker: BYD

BYD?

BYD, the largest car company most people in the world anyone, other than EV fans, have never heard of, outsold Tesla within China in in 2021, and as BYD exports grow, has the potential to start outselling Tesla globally.

BYD is the only brand currently in the race with Tesla to be worlds leading EV producer, and is now set to move to a new level as they pivot from selling cars only China despite being a batteries, busses and trucks company globally, to being a true fully global brand with the Atto 3 and their Ocean series models.

Some bullet points:

  • 4th 3rd most valuable automobile maker in the world, behind only Tesla, Toyota and VW.
  • Have been producing electric vehicles since 2008.
  • 4th 3rd 2nd largest battery maker in the world, behind CATL, and LG Chem and Panasonic.
  • BYD batteries are in phones including iPhones, and their electric busses are already worldwide.
  • Warren Buffet Berkshire Hathaway group as significant shareholder.

For worlds largest automobile company by 2030, some predict Tesla, others that it will still be Toyota, and I am not alone in predicting BYD will be the largest, and they have had that plan since 2010.

Atto 3 Market Impact.

BYD Atto 3 as contender for future world’s bestselling car?

The Tesla Model Y is already a contender in the race for world’s best-selling car, and I suggest the price-point of the Atto 3 gives it the potential to outsell the Model Y.

First, the points against the Atto 3:

  • To be bestselling car, the Atto 3 has to outsell the Toyota Corolla and the Tesla Model Y.
  • BYD has other models already on sale in a small number of international markets, and they are normally not volume sellers in those markets.
  • The Atto 3 is not even the best-selling BYD model in China.
  • BYD has stated the BYD Seal, not the Atto 3, to be their most significant vehicle.

Now, an overview of the counter arguments to those points:

  • The Model Y is already close to overtaking the Corolla, and given the high price point, the Model Y could end up being a difficult sell against the Atto 3.
  • The BYD Atto 3 is the first global Model exported by BYD.
    • Many initial BYD international sales were of high end BYD Models, or specialist market segment markets, and not targeting volume.
  • The Atto 3 is bestselling BYD model in China that it looks, as outlined below.
    • The Chinese market has differences from major export markets, which is one reason no plan has been announced to export the best selling BYD model in China, the BYD Song Plus.
  • The BYD Seal, as a more expensive sports sedan, is a halo model for reviewers and enthusiasts, but is targeting a lower volume market segment.
    • A key role of the BYD Seal is to help brand image, and help sell higher volume BYD models including Atto 3, Dolphin and Seagull

A 3rd wave EV will become World’s bestselling car: Atto 3 vs the rest.

A first it may sound a huge leap, but all things considered, this is possible. Consider how well the Tesla Model Y is selling despite being above the price point of or a normal contender for world’s bestselling car.

The Tesla Model Y is already battling with the Toyota Corolla for the title of world’s bestselling car, yet Elon musk predicts far greater sales for the Tesla 3rd wave EV.

So, Elon Musk is predicting a 3rd wave EV will become world’s best-selling car, the question whether someone else can get there before Tesla does, or more specifically, if the Atto 3 could get there first.

Bestselling vehicle requires a combination of two factors:

  • A sufficient lead in sales in a vehicle segment.
  • That segment being sufficiently popular.

The ‘catch 22’ being that the more popular the segment, the greater the incentive for competitive products. Despite the Corolla and Model Y being close in total sales numbers, the Tesla is far more dominant in an arguably smaller segment.

The lack of competitive EV models at the price point of the model Y, allows the one EV in its segment to be some dominant, that int can reach sales numbers comparable with the Corolla, which is both a small hatch and small sedan.

The Atto 3 competes in the ‘small SUV’ segment, which itself is not only already a very popular segment, but also gaining in popularity.

Despite the huge change in brand recognition during 2022 in just the few months since this page was first published, it will take more than just one more year before a BYD vehicle could become a global sales leader, and in that time BYD will need to bring updates and take the right steps to make the Atto 3 a real contender. Then these is the risk of politics playing a role. It is yet to be seen how the re-election of Xi Jinping impacts the possibility of a Chinese Tesla.

Currently, there are not enough variants of the Atto 3 to achieve its potential, even higher spec models, longer range and AWD variant would be required, plus addressing some of the points listed as ‘cons’ below. Address these points, manufacture in sufficient volume, and get the shipping under control, and then it would all come down to what are the other contenders.

Other Contenders.

Toyota Corolla: With both sedan and hatch variants, it is a little like Tesla using a single name for both the Model 3 and Model Y, and now Toyota has also released an ‘SUV’ Corolla, to complicate thing even further. The current Corolla is the 12th different generation of vehicles to wear the badge, at times with entirely different car in different countries all called ‘Corolla’. Eventually there will be an EV Corolla, and the question is more can Toyota produce a vehicle with the Corolla badge that will be the future leader? With a five-year product cycle, and the previous generation being released in 2018, there is a new version due soon, but it will not be an EV and with EVs eating into sales, it is not likely to retain the crown, and this is probably the start of the end for Toyota.

Tesla Model Y: An impressive vehicle, but the sales figures reflect a lack of competitively priced alternatives with an SUV body style. As more alternatives arise it is going to be very difficult for a vehicle at its price-point to be global bestseller.

The Tesla 2/A/B/U? The exact vehicle category for the new Tesla is unclear, but it will likely be a small sedan/hatch competing with the Toyota Corolla, and possibly named ‘2’, ‘A’, ‘B’ or even ‘U’, but could be anything that allows making a pun with the existing ‘S 3 X Y’ model designations.

The new Tesla has to achieve 3 things to become the world’s bestseller:

  1. It has to be sufficiently better than direct rivals.
  2. The segment has to be sufficiently popular.
  3. It has to reach the market in time.

Point 3, timing, is the key, and not only has timing already been a challenge for Tesla, in this case, given the new lower cost model will steal sales from the higher margin Model 3 and Model Y, early release could have a short-term negative impact on Tesla revenues.

BYD Seal: The BYD Seal does have updated technology and improved specs, but as a sedan with only 330 litres of rear luggage sapce and at a higher price than the Atto 3, may have a bigger impact on brand image as ‘halo’ model that it does on the sales charts. Being touted as a ‘Model 3’ rival is not that significant in terms of sales given the Model Y has taken over as the key vehicle for Tesla.

BYD Song Plus: Despite the Song selling in China at 2x the rate of the Yuan Plus (Atto 3 in China), Song numbers include a PHEV variant and Atto 3/Yuan plus will overtake all other BEV models by December once exports are included.

BYD Dolphin and Seagull: As lower prices vehicles, these should have even higher sales potential, but achieving the same price-parity at this lower price point is more difficult.

MG4, Geely and other Chinese Companies: So far BYD has the lead in value for money and volume from Chinese EV makers, but the MG4 from SAIC shows other Chinese brands could launch strong competitors.

Market Updates: Progress towards the top.

This section will keep a log of sales milestones by the Atto 3.

BYD today proudly announced that the BYD Atto 3 was the top selling EV in Israel in November. 2,333 Atto 3s were sold in Israel last month and it’s still only in its second month of sales since launch. This shows that demand for the critically acclaimed Atto 3 is growing fast in the country.

Tesla and Geely EVs were also in the mix in the sales charts. An even more impressive result was the fact that it was 3rd overall in Israel for November. The ATTO 3 is an affordable small SUV known as the BYD Yuan Plus in China and some other markets. It is known as the ATTO 3 in several international markets such as Japan, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Cambodia, Mauritius, and Israel, amongst others

The BYD Atto 3 Is The Top Selling EV In Israel & 3rd Overall In November [2022, 3rd over all behind Kia & Toyota]

BYD has announced its first batch of sales for the Atto 3 small SUV, which has placed second only to the Tesla Model Y in the EV charts despite a several-week stop-sale

VFACTS: BYD sales in Australia revealed for the first time, as EV registrations soar (whichcar.com.au)

Note the Atto 3 has also scored 2nd behind the Model Y in one COTY award in Australia, and in New Zealand has had one month, October 2022, as the top selling EV, plus one award already:

It might be from a brand previously unknown and completely new to New Zealand, but the BYD Atto 3 has taken the burgeoning Kiwi battery electric vehicle (BEV) market by storm. There’s no doubt it’s come at the right time for first-time plug-in buyers: the sharp pricing is on par with many petrol or diesel SUVs (bearing in mind the BYD’s lavish equipment levels), and that’s before you claim the $8625 Clean Car Discount, which both models are eligible for.

AA DRIVEN NZ COTY 2022: BYD Atto 3 is the best Clean Car BEV of the year

Markets: Where will the Yuan Plus/ Atto 3 be Available?

The Atto 3 appears to be headed for all markets globally, with the possible exception of, at least for now, North America.

When I began notes for this exploration in March 2022, talk was of a special right hand drive production line for Australia, and an import plan very specific to Australia. Then by May 2022, the Atto had been announced in:

  • Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Costa Rica, China, Macau, Nepal, Singapore Uzbekistan.

Of these, left traffic (RHD) countries are:

  • Australia Hong Kong Macau Nepal New Zealand Singapore.

As of August 2022, Japan has been added to the list, with the same range of models as Australia, plus key European markets including Germany, but with less details on what models until a reveal at an exhibition later this year. In October, Thailand and India became yet another

The initial push into so many left traffic (RHD markets) is a curious move. Macau, Singapore and Nepal will receive the Atto 3 at a similar time. Yet, Thailand, another left traffic country that is even getting its own BYD factory, is starting with the Dolphin (Atto 2?), with the Atto 3 to follow later.

By August 2022, and before Atto 3 vehicles were in the hands of customers in Australia, plans for launching in Europe, Israel, Vietnam, Cambodia, the UK and other markets had been announced.

Between the planned release in Australia and cars arriving, BYD pivoted to a major export strategy.

By late 2022, only North America has so far been bypassed, most likely due to special import duties in the USA in Chinese made vehicles.

Projected Australian Sales.

With an availability of 1,500 cars per month, although for larger countries this sounds a small number, it will be a very significant performance relative to numbers in Australia.

Yes, the MG ZS EV broke into this price bracket in late 2020, but for perspective, the MG sold 1,300 units in 2021 (although total MG sales including ICE were 39,000), while the Atto 3 is selling on pre-orders at 10x that rate over its 1st quarter, and if the level is maintained, over the next year, would exceed current sales level of the Tesla model 3, which as one car, represented 70% of the EV market for Australia in 2021. Even though Australia is very early on EV adoption, taking 1st place from Tesla in a western market would be a huge PR win.

Why Australia and A Strange Mix Other Markets?

Prior to June 2022, the Atto 3 had a strange mix of markets, that gave rise to the possibility they were targeting markets where overtaking Tesla was possible, and rising to 2nd in EVs beyond Tesla highly feasible. By September 2022, the Atto3 had largely ‘gone global’, but the initial choice of markets may still reflect BYD goals.

The choice of markets could be a well thought out deliberate strategy, or it could just be the way things worked out. However, Australia is a market where with the right local sales effort, BYD could challenge and even surpass Tesla quickly. Australia is an EV market currently dominated by Tesla, but where low market penetration of EVs means BYD could potentially become #1 EV brand nationally within 12 months.

Last year(2021), in Australia, Tesla sold over 12,000 vehicles in 2021, while all other brands sold a total of 5,149. The Atto 3 has a sales target of 18,000 vehicles per year (1,500 peer month), and with other BYD models to soon launch, passing a even growing level Tesla of sales is feasible within 12 months.

Looking at the sales data for Germany from April, only one car exceeded 1,500 sales in a market over 3x larger than Australia. Tesla shipments don’t tend to arrive in April, so this is sales data for “the rest”, but 1,500 per month in the smaller Australian market would be impressive.

Sales data for the Q3 2022, the first quarter of deliveries, suggests more sales in just one quarter than any EV for the full year of 2021, other than the Tesla model 3, and this is before anyone has even seen an Australian spec car, let alone had a chance to test drive. In 2021, EVs represented approximately 17,200 units of the just over 1 million case sold, or 1.7% of the market. BYD alone could take that close to 2.3% with just 6 months of sales in 2022, and by December 2022, the share of EV sales will have tripled the annual 2021 rate, and be at over 5%. Still one of the lowest in the world, and for Australia, it will be 2023 that is the breakthrough year.

Price?

Perspective.

The Tesla Model 3 heralded a 2nd wave of EVs, and the Atto 3 is the first of the 3rd wave of EVs.

Think below the price of the entry Nissan Leaf, or the hybrid Kia Niro, but with equipment and range to match the Kia Niro EV.

There have been EVs at the price point of the Atto 3 previously, such as the MG ZS EV. What the Atto 3 does new, is bring features and quality on a par with ICEV at this price point. While the MG is an EV at a price premium over the same car as an ICEV, the Atto 3 is equivalent to more expensive ICE vehicles.

There are two reasons for this step forward. The battery technology and use of in house batteries which enable very price competitive cars, and the capacity to manufacture far more EVs than anyone else in the world right now, which means BYD are better placed to manage the demand that comes with a highly competitively priced EV.

Australia.

The Atto 3 is priced at around $45,000 AUD (48,000 AUD for long range), which means very little if you are not in Australia, so here is how this price is relative to other cars in Australia. Find prices of these cars in your market provide a guide on Atto 3 pricing.

The most comparable Kia, the Kia e-Niro similar with range to the long range Atto 3, is over A$65,000, and this is the 2021 model e-Niro, with the 2022 price not yet listed similar. (Updated July 2022). The Atto 3 price is around $17,000 less or 3/4 (75%) of the price for a e-Niro with similar range, and instead between the price of the Niro hybrid and plug-in hybrids, but with more standard equipment than either. As the USA price of the newer 2023 model e-Niro in the US is $39,990, you could expect the Atto 3 if offered in the USA to sell for under USD $30,000.

Review of budget ‘Atto 2’ model.

As another comparison, the the ‘BMW Mini EV’ starts at under US$30,000 in the US before tax credits, but is over $60,000 Australian dollars in Australia.

The Atto 2, (or EA1 / Dolphin) an EV that can compete with the Toyota Corolla, is expected in Australia around year end with pricing to be the equivalent of, or under, the price of cars priced at $20,000 in the USA.

Other than a lack of used cars, this is the price point needed for EVs.

Atto 3 Summary: Pros and Cons.

Summary

An efficient EV with range and features typical of EVs at 50% higher price, and at price parity with ICE vehicles with similar equipment and size.

Pros:

  • Range in the real world.
  • Overall build quality.
  • Value. (But market dependant, due to BYD preferring a dealer sales model)

Cons, or imperfections:

  • No rain sensing wipers, or ‘frunk’, single zone climate control.
  • No seat memory, ventilation and limited electric adjustment (particularly of passenger seat).
  • No autonomous parking in export version so far, drive tech not groundbreaking.

The Elephant: China Made, Chinese company.

When Japanese cars first arrived in the UK, and particularly US and Australia, there was the whole WWII legacy to deal with. Korean cars faced a credibility hurdle, but not the same cultural barriers.

Modern China brings a whole new level of cultural and political barriers. BYD is not state owned, and even has prominent US based investors, but it is at least so far, not a global company by any means.

Huawei was blocked from supplying 5G infrastructure in many countries, as although also not state owned, interpretations of Chinese laws suggested that the state could compel Huawei to share data with the government.

While it is hard to see what data could be shared from cars that would be of interest to the government, there is the possibility that future OTA updates could be questionable if an international dispute arose.

I will explore this aspect further in a dedicated page.

Details From Driver Experiences: Not just a low cost “Chinese Car”.

Road Test.

To be added July 2022, I have embedded ‘preliminary’ reviews by others below, but have personally only inspected a preview sample car, but not driven one at this time. I will update this section with my own driver impressions soon.

Summary: Tesla tech, in an ID4 package, and with software nowhere near Tesla at this time.

Quality.

When the first Japanese cars reached world markets, they were considered inferior to established brands, but quickly transitioned to become high quality products, matching the quality of the German cars. After some time, prestige (e.g Lexus) Japanese cars even matched the luxury and materials of prestige German cars.

When the first Korean cars arrived internationally, it was the same. First they sold on price, then they matched the quality.

High quality products can be made in China. For example iPhones. But there are many others. However, lower quality products can also be made in China on a budget.

Chinese made cars are a mixture. There are Chinese made cars by Tesla, BMW, Volvo and Polestar that match the quality of the cars made in the USA, Germany or Sweden. But then there are Chinese brands that were at one time simply low cost cars, with early models not scoring well on safely, and although things have improved, many of these are still not up to full international standard.

The first Teslas made in China are regarded as the equal of the latest made in Fremont cars, while not perfect, and it is case of steps both back as well as forward, are better than those made in Fremont only two years ago.

BYD has been making cars in China since 2003, and producing EVs since 2008.

From my own observations, the BYD Atto 3 seems to have build quality at least on par with Tesla, if not above, and equipment levels and materials of the Atto 3 seem impressive, but I have only inspected sample cars from China at this time that are not final international production versions, specifically testing for the points picked up in the R Symons videos, and based on these tests, so far build quality is higher than Tesla. Standby for more to follow.

Quirks.

Even in the Chinese market, BYD can be perceived a ‘quirky’, and the Atto 3 / Yuan plus with its ‘strings’ and fitness theme and interior door handles fits that image.

There are also strange quirks for a ‘premium’ equipment level:

  • No rain sensing wipers. The lowest priced Hyundai in Australia gets panned for not having rain sensing wipers, and it is a car at half the price. This is significant convenience that add little to production costs.
  • No driver attention monitoring. There is no camera, but the car can detect driver attention through the steering wheel, which may be sufficient for driver assist technology.
  • Single zone climate. I do not think a significant issue in practice, but most cars have dual zone, although not necessarily delivering much real difference between zones.
  • No seat heaters, which is acceptable for Australia, but MG (SAIC), discovered this was a barrier to sales in some countries, and is regarded as feature more important in EVs due to the efficiency over cabin heating. There are now seat heaters.
  • No ‘frunk’*, even though there is sufficient space for a ‘frunk’ that could be used to stow charge cables. *There are reports of a small ‘frunk’ being possible, perhaps as a retrofit.
There is space for small ‘Frunk’ or ‘Hoot’

Although the image to the left does not really show it clearly, there is more than adequate room under the bonnet/hood for an area to have a ‘frunk’ large enough to store charging cables. The area is interrupted by two supports that run from front to rear of the ‘engine’ space, but even between these there is sufficient space to store cables. The space is not large enough for significant luggage to be stored, keeping charging cables in a location other than under the luggage is one key use of a ‘frunk’.

Initially it seemed speed sign recognition would be missing from export versions, but speed sign recognition is now in all versions.

Android Auto and Apple car play have been seen working in vehicles, but are still not rolled out in most markets, with rollout currently scheduled for January 2023.

The same rollout schedule also applies to the BYD app with the Atto 3.

Auto parking is currently limited to version with 12 sonar parking sensors, which does not include RHD vehicles, but given Tesla has dropped sonar sensor altogether and still offers auto parking, auto parking with less (6) sonar should be possible and could still be added by OTA at some point.

Regen on the Atto3: It needs the brake pedal and has no ‘one pedal’ mode.

An often misunderstood aspect of EVs is how ‘regen’ works, a more compete explanation available here.

The key point is that, on an EV, both the brake pedal and the accelerator pedal, can activate both the friction brakes, and the regenerative braking. There are three methods of slowing an EV:

  • friction brakes, which are more effective the slower the vehicle is moving.
  • regenerative braking by the motor/generator, which is more effective the faster the vehicle is moving.
  • Powering the motor to oppose any movement, which is like regenerative braking, but for low speeds and requires power from the battery instead of being able to supply power to the battery.

All EVs use regen braking first when the brake pedal is pressed, and the amount of regen available is not related to ‘regen settings’. These settings change how you need to use the pedals to get regen, not how much regen is available:

  • with a low regent setting, the brake pedal will be needed to get more regenerative braking.
  • with a high regen setting, lifting off the accelerator may also activate friction braking.

While this has no impact on efficiency, or the amount of regenerative braking available, the Atto 3 currently (Sept 2022), only offers very low regenerative braking settings. Despite being labelled ‘normal’ and ‘high’, even the high setting requires use of the brake pedal to access significant regenerative braking.

Many people prefer one pedal driving, or a least to experience more regenerative braking without needing to use the brake pedal. The lack of more settings, with more aggressive regenerative braking without needing to use the brake pedal, will be seen by some buyers as a negative, but there are three potential reasons for not having the very fashionable ‘one pedal driving’ option:

  • No EV comes to a complete stop on regenerative braking alone with and having the vehicle come to complete when lifting off the accelerator gives drivers a false impression of what is happening.
  • overuse of regenerative braking reduces efficiency, and could lead to a worse experience in terms of efficiency.
  • The available settings make the car drive very much like an ICEV.

In summary, the Attu 3 has quite strong regenerative braking, which is necessary for the cars efficiency on test cycles. Close to 80kW of regen has been observed, which is close to the charging limit. The Atto 3 has been reported to use a Bosch IPB blended braking module which will provide up to 0.3 g of braking from regenerative brakes.

One pedal driving, or more aggressive regen setting could be provided by the Atto 3, and if provided would only only effect how the car responds to input via the pedals, not regenerative braking ability. Hopefully a software update could more options in future, possibly with a warning about how overuse of regenerative braking results in less efficient driving.

Real World Efficiency and Range.

Consumption from more reliable data.

  • Suburban: 11-14kWh/100km
  • 100km/h: 14-18kWh/100km
  • 110km/h: 16-20kWh/100km
  • 120km/h: 18-22kWh/100km* to be validated

Consumption from a forum post reporting real world data (now looking optimistic):

  • Suburban: 11kWh/100km or less
  • 100km/h: 13-15kWh/100km
  • 110km/h: 15-17kWh/100km
  • 120km/h: 18-21kWh/100km

For calculations, it can be easier to work with Wh/km, rather than convert distances to multiples of 100km.

  • Suburban: 110-140Wh/km or less (Range 510 km or more)
  • 100km/h: 140-180Wh/km (360 km)
  • 110km/h: 160-200Wh/km (320 km)
  • 120km/h: 180-220Wh/km (270 km)

There are also far less favourable reports, such as an approximate 240-260 Wh/km at 110km/h in New Zealand, and a more recent tests report of between 160 and 180 Wh/km at 100km/h although the exact conditions are not clear, and I will update with more information as it becomes available. Although but the “real world data from China” looks to have been optimistic, these figures may actually be obtainable, but not dependable.

From NZ, but again without information on how they were calculated:

  • Around town: 400 – 430 km
  • Motorway (80-110 km/hr, consistent speed and minimal terrain): 340 – 380 km
  • Rural (hills, corners, open road but often speeding up and slowing down) 320 – 340
  • “Worst case”: 300 km

The Reality Of Road Trip Charging Speeds (long range model where not specified).

Data from Chargers at 150kw or more.

The time specified to charge at a rapid charger is 45 minutes. But as discussed below, there is ambiguity on what the time means.

NOTE: A Charge time calculator for the Atto 3 can now be found here.

The latest data from BYD (via EVs & Beyond), reveals two key points:

Charge curve from BYD via EVs & Beyond NZ.

The current curve indicates that from 10% to 85% in 40.65 on a charger specified at 100kW or better, for 282 km at 110 km/h, or 320 km at 100 km/h.

The graph to the left is the latest I have, but it is unclear where the 88.2kW etc is measured. On this page, I assume at the charger, and allow for 5% less charge added due to charging losses to occur as heat, but the charge time calculator I built, allows for any loss setting.

So I am for now assuming 83.8kW and 56.5kW for the two top steps, allowing for charging losses. This means from 10% to 65%, the cars would add 83.8kW per hour, and thus add the 33kW from 10% to 65% in 23.63 minutes. From 65% to 85%, would take another 12.74 minutes to add that next 12kW, resulting in 10% to 85%, which is 48kWh from 10% to 85% in 36.37 minutes. In the real world, by the time charging starts and ramps up, around 37 minutes. This means that ’45 minutes’ quotes could be for 0 to 85%, which should take around 41 minutes, but could also have improved since the specification was first printed. The last 15% assumed to be at 35.3 x. 95 for 12%, 17.6 x .95 for 2% and 8.8 x .95 for the last 1% would each add 12.88, 4.3 and 4.3 minutes respectively.

The following assumes range as per these estimates, and is based on starting at 10% charge, charging to drive further before again being at 10% at the next charge. These calculation were initially a lot of work, but now the charging time calculator is online is easy.

  • charge time from plugging in at 10% to add charge for a given range :
    • For 110km/h at 180w/km:
      • 23.63 minutes to reach 65% for 183 km range back to 10% (to 39kWh).
      • 30.64 minutes for 220 km extra range(45kWh).
      • 34.90 minutes for 250 km extra range at 85% (at 51kWh)
      • 55.52 minutes for 300 km of extra range (at 60kWh)
    • For 100 km/h at 160 w/km:
      • 22.91 minutes for 200 km extra range.
      • 31.06 minutes for 250 km extra range.
      • 41.74minutes for 300 km extra range.
      • 57.3 minutes for 337 km extra range.

This means, if stopping every for additional range every two hours of freeway travel, at 110km/h stop to add 220km of range with a charge time of 31 minutes, or at 100 km/h a stop to add 200 km of range with a charge time of 23 minutes. This times use the upper limit of reported consumption, so real world time could be better.

Calculations:

  • @110
    • 170 Wh/km x 220km = 37.4 kWh
    • 23.7 mins for 33kW + 4.7 mins for 4.4 kw = 28.4 minutes.
  • @100
    • 150 Wh/km x 200km = 30 kWh
    • 21.5 mins for 30kW
  • 10 mins at peak charge
    • 83.8 kWh ÷ 6 = 14kWh in 10 minutes (hour divided by 6)
    • 14kWh @ 149Wh/km = 94 km range added

For comparisons using charge per 10 minutes, on Australian rated range (not previous WLTP range), this is adding 94km per 10 minutes during peak charging for comparison with other cars. Note this number would only apply in the real world when fast charging for WLTP mixed, mostly urban, driving conditions.

This data suggest that range specification could be from 0-85% if charging losses are lower than assumed, for 45 minutes for 10% to 85% and conservative.

Charging in Sub optimal conditions: Lower speed chargers and extreme heat.

Actual charge ‘curve’ at 120 A charge point(purple).

This second charging curve is from China with a 120 Amp charger, which would be a 60 kW charger in Australia. It shows a completely flat curve almost to 100%, which, for flatness, should also be repeated on a 50kW charger. So on a 50kWh charger, expect around 1.5 hours for an almost fully charge.

The main point about the charging curve is how flat the curve is from zero to 85%.

The next charging curve available is from measurements conducted under extreme heat on the Yuan Plus in China.

The graph shown here does suggest throttling of charge rate occurs at high ambient temperatures, above 40C, and on that basis, until further data is available, some allowance for longer charging should be made. However, two things to note:

  • Most charging losses occur, and thus most heat is generated, in the AC-DC conversion step, which with a rapid charger is within the charging equipment external to the car.
  • The charging curve in this example exhibits throttling not observed when charging in New Zealand at rapid charges, not present on data from BYD, suggesting the charger used may throttle charging itself even at ‘normal’ ambient temperatures.

In summary, high temperatures may result in slower charging, and while that could be due to supply equipment rather than the car, it could still need to be considered.

Charging by comparison with other EVs.

While the peak rate is not fast, charging times per distance needing to be driven are quite competitive. For example the 2022 Polestar 2 charges at up to 150kW below 40%, than at 100kW to 55%, and at 75kW to 80%, and yet requires 20% higher charge for the same distance, as it is around 20% less efficient. The result is similar charging times for the same distance.

These results also compare well with the 2022 BMW iX xDrive40 which has a similar 425km WLTP range and charging adds range at up to 95km per 10 minutes, but the BMW spends less time at that peak charge than the Atto 3 does.

In theory, a Hyundai E-GMP car (Ioniq-5, Kia EV6), can charge up to 4x faster than the Atto-3, but in practice, the reality is from 2x fast to the same speed, depending on conditions. The 2x faster allows an Ioniq-5 to, under ideal conditions, charge from 10% to 80% in 18 minutes. The long range Ioniq 5 is rated at 451 km WLTP from the 72.6kWh battery, so 10%-80% results in 315km and 50.82 kW. Charging 50.82 kWh in 18 mins is charging at 169.4 kW as opposed the the specification of 230kW and mention of 350kW. Still 169.4 kW is the 2x faster than 80kW. However, that time is under ideal conditions, and under less ideal conditions, the Ioniq-5 can be far slower, and averaged 100kW on this test. The Ioniq-5 is quite typical and is used as an example as it is all about battery chemistry. It does illustrate that specs do not tell the entire story. In the end, particularly if fully charging to 100%, and LFP car can take no longer than another car with double the peak charging speed.

Reality Of Home Charging Speed.

The Atto 3 can be charged on AC, which except in emergencies, will normally correspond with urban driving, which, for the following table is assumed to consume 140 Watts per kilometre in urban driving.

W consumedAdd kW/h To Charge (85%)Full Charge (Hrs)City Range / Hour
8 Amp charge cable1.84 kW1.4-1.5 kW / h42 h10.5
10 Amp charge cable2.3 kW1.8-1.9 kW / h 32 h14
15 Amp charge cable3.45 kW2.9-3.2 kW / h20 h21
7 kW wall unit7 kW6.4 kW / h9 h 30 m42.5
This table to be updated, but rates seem to reflect reality with the car ‘off’.

In Australia, many charging cables, or ‘supply equipment’, designed to operate from a normal 10 Amp mains socket, are often configured to signal the car to charge at no more than 8 Amps, and a cable configured for 8Amps is supplied with most Atto 3s in Australia.

Charing cables or ‘supply equipment’ configured for 10 Amps are also possible form a 10Amp socket, and 13A or 15A are also possible from appropriate power sockets.

All AC charging equipment does not ‘process’ the AC power, but instead simply either connects the AC power it receives to the car, or not. On, or off. On when the car is being charged and no safeguard has been activated, otherwise off. This is why the electronics of 8Amp, 10Amp or 15Amp units are often identical, as the only real difference is the signal to the car as to what current should be the maximum. The control pins allow the charging unit to see if the car is in charging mode or not, and also allows the cable to tell the car what maximum current is available.

Data so far suggest that the Atto 3 sets the maximum charging current at around 10% below that signalled by the supply equipment or charging cable. This means that even though the charging equipment may state 8Amps, the actual current supplied may be less than 7 Amps. Then, not all current supplied will be used to charge the battery, with most often between 200 and 300 watts diverted to the heat pump up to either heat or cool the battery depending on conditions. This power consumed to operate the heat pump becomes more significant the lower the charging current, making lower current charging slightly less efficient.

Further, when the car is ‘on‘, the battery is also supplying other systems in the car, further reducing charging rate.

The range added per hour for each of these is listed above, but this table will be updated as more data comes through. Note that all charging only delivers around 85% efficiency from AC to battery, but with DC charging, most of the losses are within the DC charging unit, so much smaller losses occur between charging unit and car.

Range per kWh is normally better in urban conditions. As 80 km per day equates to almost 30,000 km per year, an 8 hour charge even on an 8 A charge rate will be sufficient for most people who can charge every night.

If the car can be plugged in where it is normally parked, then no the supplied level 1 / mode 2 charging should be all that is required. In Australia, I would suggest getting a spare cable, which could be 10A, or 15A and be left at home or other normal charging location, allowing the supplied cable to remain with the car. In addition, a type 2 charging for use at urban AC chargers that can be ‘bring your own cable’ would also make sense.

Yes, if you arrive home after having driven 400km in a day, or over 300 if driving at highways speeds, and need to drive 400km again tomorrow, overnight charging at home on a regular plug will take too long, but how often does this happen? And how often would you be that close to needing a fast recharge, yet still reach home?

For those who can charge at home, but not every day, such a people with multiple cars sharing the one parking space for charging on a rotation basis, the only really faster option is 7kW AC single phase charging, as there is no 11kW or faster three phase charging support with the current RHD Atto 3, although there are reports of 11kW charging being supported in RHD export Atto 3 vehicles. A 10 hour 7 kW charge would still allow the long range model to be fully charged overnight “from empty” with an 7kW or greater type 2 AC charger installed at home.

While as 7kW allows an overnight full charge, it is adequate for home charging for most people. However, being restricted to 7kW when destination charging 7kW is a definite limitation. The other affect is that it would take up to almost 10 hours to fully charge on type 2 public charger, and, as some type 2 chargers have fees based on per minute of charging time, vehicles only charging at 7kW would be getting less charge each minute for their money.

Instructions and Tips.

Note, there is a separate ‘accessories‘ section below.

Charging and battery care.

As explained in the batteries section, the Atto3 has a 12v battery and an LFP Blade main or ‘traction’ battery.

Despites some advice to the contrary, even LFP batteries will have a longer life fully charging is avoided. If there was not some degradation each charge cycle, batteries would last forever, and degradation is higher at the higher voltages present when the battery is fully charged. However, with LFP batteries the elevation of voltage is very small, and the number of cycles expected for an LFP battery are much higher than for ‘ternary’ batteries. Perhaps the expected life of the Atto 3 LR battery could be extended from 1.5 million kms to 1.7 million km by only ever, or only rarely, charging to 90%, but the lifetime warranty offered on the battery in China does not depend on limiting how often the battery is fully charged, which despite the vagueness of lifetime warranties, suggests BYD does not expect it to make a significant difference.

The other factor is the battery management system.

If, for example, only ever charging between 50% and 80% using AC charging, errors would accrue with the reported state of charge, but would not matter until the next DC charging session, when an incorrect state of charge could result in the wrong charging rate being used. To avoid this possibility, either the battery should be fully charged prior any trip that will require DC rapid charging, or within around one week, or withing around 500km, prior to any trip that will require DC rapid charging.

The other requirement of the battery management system is periodic updating of the charge and discharge curves which, with an LFP battery, should occur around once every 10 full cycles, or around once every 5,000 km with the Atto 3 LR. To enable updating the charging curves, the battery management system needs to observe the high volage and the start of the low voltage ends of the charging curve, which means both full charge and around 15% or lower charge, within a few charging cycles.

TL;DR: Fully charge the Atto 3 within one week or around 500km prior to DC rapid charging, and around once every 5,000-10,000 kms travelled or once every 6 months, try dropping to around 15% or lower state of charge.

Note that the ‘state of charge’ range between 10% and 65% will result in the fastest rapid DC charging times, and a full charge will normally be desirable prior to a road-trip that make use of rapid DC charging.

Long periods without vehicle use.

If the vehicle is not expected to be driven for over 7 days, it is recommended to keep the SOC at 40 – 60%, as this will prolong battery service life. If the battery is to be not used for over 3 months, charge the battery fully and discharge it down to 40% to 60% it must be fully charged every 3 months and then discharged to 40 – 60%.

Atto 3 manual: Main battery

If the vehicle needs to be parked for a long time, please disconnect the negative terminal wire yourself

Atto 3 manual: 12v battery.

Changing the SIM

See below.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).

Buttons 3,4,5 and 6 are all for the ACC.

The quick guide is to press 3 so the speed display 4a appears, then press 5 down to cruise at current speed.

Now the full guide.

There are 3 modes:

  • Off: no display at 4a.
  • Stand-by: Grey speed at 4a, ACC on standby
  • On: Green speed at 4a, vehicle automatically travelling at set speed or below set speed and following at the set time behind the vehicle ahead.

When in Mode ‘Off’:

  • When the system is ‘off’ no number appears in zone 4a.
  • Pressing (right) button 3 changes the mode to ‘off’.
  • All other buttons (4,5,6) are inactive when the system is off.

When in mode ‘stand-by’:

  • Grey speed appears in zone 4a.
  • Push right button (3) to changes to mode ‘off’.
    • When ‘off’ speed (4a) will not be visible.
  • Push the black knob (5) up to resume mode ‘on’ at greyed out speed, which, beware, is initially 30km/h.
  • Push black knob (5) down to select mode ‘on’ and set speed to current speed.

When in mode ‘engaged’:

  • Green speed appears in zone 4a.
  • Press the brake pedal to switch to ‘stand-by’.
  • Press right button (3) to changes to mode ‘off’ (but retains the target speed).
  • Press the knob (5) up/down to +/- 5km/h to the target speed.
  • Press button 6 to reduce time gap by 1 step.
  • Press button 4 to increase time gap by 1 step (there are 4 steps).

*I plan on adding notes on the limitations of the ACC and when the system requires intervention by mid-January 2023

Sideloading Apps, Micro USB port and country settings.

Sideloading of Apps is was possible, as per these instructions, but with one additional consideration. Developer mode is required, but not enabled by default on all builds, which means it may be necessary to first press 10 x on the build number as is standard in Android to enable developer mode. For some software versions, it is reported that it is multiple presses on the left half of the “factory reset” setting. Wireless sideloading is only possible on software versions where the wireless android debug mode option appears. There is a video here on:

The Hidden MicroUSB Port.

It has been discovered that there is a hidden microUSB port which can play an important role in sideloading, as per this video.

Two points noted by others:

  • Removing the white plug requires pressing on the clip at the top of it. which isn’t necessarily clear from the video.
  • The black label is not easy to remove just by fingers and a blade to starts and then pliers can help.

Country Settings.

You might also need to set your country:

  1. Go to the version manager.
  2. Tap repeatedly on the text that says to check for upgrades. Tap on the text, not the “upgrade” link.
  3. A hidden menu will pop up. Select country (eg. AU=Australia).
  4. Reboot the system by holding down the volume knob beside the “start” button.

Note that tapping repeatedly on the ‘software version’ text bring up an interesting menu I have not yet explored.

Pedestrian Warning.

The Atto 3 has a warning sound when travelling at low speed to alert pedestrians, as required by law in some countries. When driving off-road in nature, it may be desirable to disconnect this temporarily, instructions can be found in this video.

Depending on the country, driving on public roads without the noise generator could be illegal, but disabling when off road and ‘stalking’ to photograph or observe wildlife may be desirable.

Tyres.

How to use the mobility kit.

General Tips

  • Press and hold the circle key for about 6 seconds (takes a long time and some say double click bu this does not work for me) on the remote to activate the air conditioning/ heating without unlocking the car (mirrors unfold also but car remains locked). The car remains ‘on’ for the time as set on the ‘vehicle settings’/’A/C’ ‘remotely controlled air conditioner running time’ and also records from the dashcam during that time the vehicle is ‘on’.
  • With the car locked, press the door handle button without the key fob in your pocket. If the car was recently locked the ambient lighting comes on. If it has gone into deep sleep mode it does not.
  • Press the lock button on the fob when the car is already locked and the horn beeps. Good for finding your car in a carpark.
  • Unlock the car with the mechanical key and you set off the burglar alarm.
    • The Atto3 has a key fob logo right at the bottom of the centre console box. You need to take everything out and rest the fob there and it will register, even if the key battery is flat.
  • For UI ‘glitches’, try rebooting the system. Power up, then hold down the volume knob beside the start button for 10 seconds (or so) and the system will reboot.
  • Power on, then on the right button cluster on the wheel, hold the Mode and right arrow buttons for 10 seconds. It goes into a static display mode.
    • Repeat when it is in display mode and the car powers off.
  • Under the version manager screen, tap the texts repeatedly (not the selection links) and you get a variety of diagnostic menus.
  • Increase climate control temperature and the ambient lighting goes red for a few seconds. Decrease it and it goes blue.
  • Sunroof/sunshade initialising. (As per the manual)
    • If the sunroof/sunshade does not close fully, calibrate manually. Press and hold the sunroof/sunshade close button and release it when the sunroof/sunshade stops moving. Hold the button again for at least 7 seconds and release it until the sunroof/sunshade is fully closed, and a click sound is heard. Initialize the sunroof and sunshade separately

SD Card.

Many people use a 256Gb SD card formatted with Fat32, but others even with smaller cards, lost their initial data, so it seems some cards or formats result in initial problems.

To quote the first person who I know of who tested: Using a Sandisk 256G High Endurance Class 10 V30 micro card which came formatted with default exFAT. Works fine with pre-recorded music and onboard camera recordings.

OTA, SIM, Apps, Maps (or initial lack thereof).

OTA updates can be delivered any time the Atto 3 is connected to the internet, either through the installed SIM or home WiFi or a mobile hotspot. It is potentially possible for a specific software release to only allow update through a specific SIM, and several people have suggested that they could only update using their SIM connection, but others in the same country, at around the same time, managed to receive OTA updates despite having changed their SIMs.

The Atto 3 currently uses a Mini SIM, which is also referred to a standard SIM’ and is the largest size SIM card still in use.

The SIM is located under a cover on the passenger side (photos are of a RHD vehicle) of the central air vents, beneath a cover secured by clips on a panel that can be unclipped with the glove compartment open, or preferably dopped out of its place. Squeeze the sides of the glovebox together to let the pegs go past the stoppers. Then you can pivot it to the floor. This makes access to the SIM cover panel much easier.

The SIM cover panel pulls towards the passenger door, with clips pointed towards that door. A nylon pry tool or similar will help extracting the first clip, and once the first is released there is a gap allowing easier unclipping of the rest. There is a small hole adjacent to the SIM allowing a SIM removal or small diameter paperclip to eject the SIM.

Although it is possible that future software updates will lock the cars to the use of a specific SIM, people have tried different SIMs from different mobile carriers, with no reports of problems so far. This proves increased data for Spotify, or even video applications for when parked.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (AA and AC).

Currently the Atto 3 supports wireless Android Auto and wired Apple CarPlay, but this is not live in cars in all markets. Wireless Apple CarPlay has been seen in test software versions, such as the version in this video, but has no scheduled release date as of Nov 2022.

Batteries: 12V and Blade Battery.

see “Charging and battery care” for overview.

12V Battery.

While early samples had a Li-ion 12v battery, all productions cars so far appear to have a BYD branded lead-acid 12v battery.

It may seem strange that a vehicle with a main battery still needs a 12v, and as explained here, the 12v is to provide power when the main battery is switched off and effectively disconnect from the car to ensure no high voltage is present.

When the car is ‘off’, the only power comes from the 12v battery, and when the car is ‘on’, all power, 12volt power included, comes from the main blade battery. The essential function of the 12v battery is to activate the circuits that reconnect the main battery when switching on.

Software in the Atto 3 can periodically ‘wake up’ the main ‘traction’ battery to check voltage levels, and if necessary, recharge the 12bv battery from the traction battery. Current firmware on the Atto 3 performs this ‘wake up and check’ once every hour, but only charges the 12v battery if the 12v battery is at quite a low voltage, which can still lead to the 12v battery deteriorating if only ‘kept alive’ by this mechanism.

The 12v battery is charged completely if either driving for long enough, or charging for long enough, which means a rarely infrequently drive vehicle that is rapid DC charged can suffer 12v battery problems. This could be fixed if the ‘wake up charge and charge the 12v is triggered at a slightly higher voltage in future software update.

12V Battery Problems.

Although the data on these problems is from Australia and New Zealan, bar are most likely relevant for all markets.

Like many EVs, 12 batteries losing charge or ‘going flat’ and having insufficient charge to start the vehicle are still one of the main causes of breakdowns.

Shipping: Some early failures have been associated with shipping, with management of the 12v battery during the extended time the car is inactive during shipping, which cars in China never experienced. In theory, steps have been taken to address the problems, but the state of the battery in a new car should still be regarded as a potetnial probelm.

Charging scheduled by the charger: The Atto 3 has built in timed AC charging, allowing the car to schedule charging. However, there are situations when people want to have the car in ‘ready to charge’ state, and have the charger turn on the power when the charger determines it is the right time to charge. People managing off-peak my want themselves to turn on and off the charger, and more importantly, solar chargers can determine when solar power is available for charging. The problem here is that the car must be in ‘standby’ ready to charge when the power comes on. When the car controls charging, it can sleep even though the cable is plugged in when the charge is full, or there is a time know to the car at to when charging should start. But if the car has to be ‘on standby’ for charging to start at any time, then this ‘standby’ mode will require power, and that creates a risk of draining the 12v battery.

Software updates seek to address this problem.

Blade Battery: LFP (Lithium iron phosphate).

The Battery Of the Future?

BYDs have the blade battery which is LFP. Those who really know EVs notice the difference. In summary, if the car is not too heavy and the battery size is not smaller due to be being LFP, then there are benefits to an LFP battery.

LFP battery technology is also now available in some Teslas, making Elon Musks ‘battery of the future’ available today. BYD did have them first, and has all those cool videos of nails through batteries and torture test demonstrating how they don’t catch fire like other batteries. So they are 1) Safer, 2) they also last longer, and most importantly to the average owner, 3) they have better charging curves.

But LFP batteries also have 3 disadvantages: 1) they weight more, 2) they require more space, and 3) they perform poorly if they are too cold. The blade battery overcomes the weight and size, and the heat pump overcomes the cold., so the fuss about Blade Batteries is they have the advantages without the disadvantages.

So What Is All The Fuss?

According to the review quoted below, there is an incredible amount of hype over the blade battery, but the reviewer is a motoring journalist, rather than an EV specialist, and misses the difference.

All of that is probably not important to you, but it’s basically not the messiah. In practice, you won’t notice much difference between this and batteries of another type. It’s not like it’s a quarter of the size or costs ten cents to make or has more energy storage than a nuclear reactor.

“Wheels” review.

Given that other than faulty batteries, EVs are even less affected by fires than internal combustion vehicles, so what?

The real differences: safer, fully usable, longer lasting battery, with flatter charge curve.

Until you live with an EV, those differences seem to make no sense. However:

  1. With other batteries, batteries should only be 100% charged rarely reducing real range.
    • Not fully charging reduces effective capacity and effective range.
  2. Charging speeds are peak speeds, and batteries with the same peak rates do not all charge at the same speed.

This video by Bjørn Nyland, and actually EV specialist from Norway, measuring Teslas LFP against Teslas with other batteries, shows the for the same capacity, the LFP battery charges over 10% more in the same time, and at the limit of recommended charging, has over 10% more range from the battery.

Note, Tesla model as CATL LFP batteries, not BYD batteries.

The Spec: Less Impressive than the reality.

The “specifications” section of the current page for Australia states 3 phase charging is supported but does not state at what rate, and the brochure states DC fast charging at 70 kW and 80 kW, presumedly respectively for the 50 kWh and 60 kWh batteries. This charging speed is above the current e-Niro (now Niro-EV), or the US Bolt EUV, and matches the MG-ZSEV, but these represent the bottom end of the scale.

The Mystery of Charging Speed and 800v: Architecture is not 800v, car is 400v.

The underlying e-Platform 3.0 is specifically an 800 v platform. This charge rate would seem to make the Atto 3 the worlds slowest peak charging 800v car by a significant margin. Why? Reasons given for the charge rate so far relate to preserving battery life, but as 400v BYD cars charge at similar rates, and charging at 800v places less load on the battery than at 400v, that does not really explain it.

The latest information I have is that despite the 800v architecture, the Atto 3 currently has a 400v battery, so unless the battery is updated, no further explanation is needed beyond that the 800v claim is an error, and refers to the architecture potential, but now how it is used in this car.

So why a 400v car on an 800v architecture? Most current EV-Supply equipment or “fast chargers” in the real world only supply 400v. Some cars, such as the Hyundai/Kie e-GMP cars, boost 400v supply to 800v, while if the Atto 3 was 800v, it would be possible the Atto 3 simply charges slower on 400v. Will faster charging at 800v chargers be possible in future? It is possible, but cannot be assumed. Further research reveals 800v cars are slow on 400v without a voltage boost converter.

The first series-produced car that has an 800 V battery system is, of course, the Porsche Taycan, and it’s also a versatile one, because it can operate on 400 V. However, if you use 400 V charger, the output is limited to around 50 kW (instead of up to 270 kW at 800 V charger). The higher levels, like 100-150 kW at 400 V can be unlocked by buying an additional package (DC to DC voltage boost converter).

See “Porsche Taycan” in the article: The multi-charging (800V/400 V) system is versatile…

Interesting. Charging 800v cars on 400v can be slow. Even the might Porsche Taycan, charges slower on 400v than the Atto 3.

The most likely reason for a 400v car on an 800v architecture, is that charging an 800v version be even slower on cars not equipped with a step up voltage system prior to 800v chargers being common, creating a big problem for the base models cars.

Atto 3 Battery Specifications.

There are 4 battery packs specified for the Atto 3, as per the sheet to the right. Currently each blade of a BYD blade battery has all internal cells in parallel, resulting 3.2 volts per blade. This means a long-range car is rated at 403.2 volts from 126 blades of 150Ah each. The standard range car can be either 371.2 volts using 116 smaller 135 Ah blades, or 332.8 volts using 104 of the 150Ah blades. The 150Ah blades result in 150kWh/kg density batteries, while the 135Ah blades result in 140kWh/kg.

Atto 3 / BYD International Teething Problems

There is a separate page dedicated to market launch in Australia (and New Zealand), but some issues may remain relevant in many countries.

BYD Normally operates through intermediaries: not directly.

This means the consumer experience will largely be determined by the relevant intermediary operation, and not BYD themselves.

Pricing, warranty, support and available configurations will vary from country to country. While at one time BYD vehicles were offered in a direct sale model similar to Tesla, this was replaced by the ‘dealer experience’ sales model prior to the delivery of any Atto 3 vehicles to customers.

A key point here is that globally, BYD moved from being in a few countries where importers had made approaches to them, to having a regional warranty package, and it seems an export push. BYD embarked on a program of entering into agreements with networks of dealerships in Europe and Asia, with 9 significant agreements announced in just the two months of July and August 2022, including Japan, Germany and Sweden (Hedin Mobility) and New Zealand.

All agreements announced after Australia, are based on sales through dealerships, and it was even announced just days after the launch of the Atto 3 in Australia, that sales in Australia would also swap to be though dealerships.

It now seems very likely BYD has adopted global strategy of going through dealers, and this will likely have an impact of prices, and particularly service prices, with dealers in many countries highly reliant on income from routine maintenance, this will be interesting with EVs.

It seems likely that the strategy of Tesla works best in countries most like the USA, and that of BYD will work best in countries more like China.

Warranties Background.

With all warranties, there will be some drivers who need to make claims, which means there is some cost to the organization providing the warranty.

A warranty is not really an assurance of quality, but a form of insurance policy. If a fault covered by the warranty occurs, the warranty provider will pay for parts and labour required to remedy the fault. This often means the manufacturer or importer/distributor paying the dealer, and dealership can earn significant revenue from warranty work. The same principle as with fire insurance, which does not prevent fires, but does in theory cover the cost of required repairs if there is a fire. While there is less cost to offering a warranty on a more reliable vehicle, it is easy to offer a long warranty on a less reliable vehicle made with lower cost parts by increasing the price to include provision for a longer warranty.

This means dealers earn more money the more warranty repairs are required, which the warranty provider will have more costs the more warranty repairs they approved dealers to carry out. So it is the warranty provider who much approve claims.

Internationally, while manufacturers provided an allowance in pricing for the cost of warranty and provide parts, they do are not the warranty provider in destination countries, and an in country company has to take on this form of “insurance” and oversee claims.

Warranties can even be bought from third parties such as Warrantywise in the UK.

With cars, there are warranty exclusions for this that would be expected may need replacing due to wear during the term of the warranty. Oil and oil filters may need replacing at services within the warranty period and so may tires, and effectively everything on a service schedule to be inspected for wear and replaced if worn.

The suggested BYD ‘Regional Warranty’.

In Australia, the originally proposed warranty become replaced by the warranty in the form of the card to the right, which it turns out is a translation of a Chinese warranty on BYD EVs and PHEVs.

New Zealand however went for a simpler warranty, but with the “† subject to conditions and exclusions”. Hidden traps? Not really, other than those of most other warranties, with key clause being:

“The warranty does not cover consumption of parts due to natural wear and tear”

In the end, the warranty in Australia is likely very similar to that in New Zealand, as explored in more detail in the page on the Atto 3 in Australia and New Zealand.

What is clear is that different countries may adopt different warranties, but they are unlikely to substantially differ from the warranty support offered by BYD.

Warranty ContentWarranty Period
(whichever comes first)
In New Zealand?
Traction Battery8 years/160,000 kilometres
SOH ≥70%
Yes
Drive Unit
(Motor, Motor controller, Motor controller with DC assembly,
High voltage electric control assembly)
8 years/150,000 kilometresYes
Whole vehicle lights, Tire pressure monitoring module,
Suspension, ball joint
4 years/100,000 kilometresNo †
Multimedia system, Shock absorber, Belt, Dust cover, Bushing or
gasket, Release bearing, Wheel bearing, PM2.5 measuring
instrument, AC/DC charging port assembly, USB charging port
connector
3 years/60,000 kilometresNo †
Lead-acid storage battery (12V)1 year/20,000 kilometresNo †
Air conditioner filters (Filter net, High efficient strainer,
Electrostatic filter), Button battery, Brake pad, Clutch Disc, Tire,
Wiper Blade assembly, Bulbs, Fuse, Ordinary relay (excluding
integrated control unit)
6 months/10,000 kilometresNo †
All the parts of complete vehicle except the parts listed above
(not includes various kinds of oil, charging equipment, gifts,
refrigerants, for specific warranty please refer to the instructions)
6 years/150,000 kilometresYes
Australian warranty is a direct translation of BYD warranty for China,

Safety Rating, EuroNCAP and ANCAP.

The Atto 3 obtained a 5 star EuroNCAP rating in October 2022.

There were articles around June 2022, suggesting the Atto 3 had not yet been crash tested. These claims were badly worded. While the Atto-3 did not yet have an official Euro-NCAP or the Australian ANCAP rating according to their databases, BYD does have their own, award winning crash test facility, and cars are crash tested internally during development.

SURREY, England–(BUSINESS WIRE)–BYD Ltd Company has been named “2013 Crash Test Facility of the Year” byAutomotive Testing Technology International, marking a major milestone for BYD Auto. “When deciding on BYD for ‘Crash Test Facility of the Year’, the judges were impressed with some of the state-of-the-art equipment, such as the Bi-Trolley for towing and guidance, as well as the accuracy of facility results.

PRESS RELEASE: BYD WINS ATTI CRASH TEST FACILITY OF THE YEAR

The BYD crash test facility was the basis for my original claim on this page that the Atto 3 would likely achieve a five-star rating, even though at the time of writing this was not official.

Specifications And Competition.

Updates on specifications: A work in progress.

Despite having been announced in February 2022, as of June 2022, there are still no Atto 3 RHD cars in customers hands, or available to for full detailed full reviews yet.

This specification section serves as a collection of information from various sources, including information from customer experiences of the Yuan Plus in China, which has different equipment levels. As more information is available, I will update this page, and I am also updating links to reviews, and other sources of information online, with this page acting as a repository of information on the vehicle up until that need ends.

Range and Efficiency.

Real world consumption from a forum post , as quoted and discussed above is give as:

  • Suburban: 11kWh/100km or less
  • 100km/h: 13-15kWh/100km
  • 110km/h: 15-17kWh/100km
  • 120km/h: 18-21kWh/100km

I am now working with

  • Suburban: 14kWh/100km or less
  • 100km/h: 15-17kWh/100km
  • 110km/h: 18-21kWh/100km
  • 120km/h: 21-24kWh/100km

But back to the specification.

Australian cars long range are now officially labelled as 480 km range and 149Wh/km.

The WLTP range has previously been stated as 320/420 km which would be around 144kWh for the 60kW model, but appears not to be an official rating. NEDC range is stated at 430/510, as per the model designations in China. Real world data usually more useful than official data, and is available above.

The quoted time to charge at a rapid charger is 45 minutes. I have seen this described in various sources as the time form 10% to 100%, from 20% to 100%, and from 20% to 80%. So which is correct? As noted above in ‘road trip charging‘, it would seem the spec should be either from 0 to 85% or from 10% to 85%. Quoting charging time for up to 80% is not as common for an LFP battery vehicle as LFP batteries generally maintain full speed for a little longer. It is now confirmed the battery charges at peak rate until 85%.

Dimensions: Beyond the brochure.

The brochure, and the spec below give the overall dimensions, but they never reveal all.

Rear seat headroom, for tall people is restrictive, but the video below has a 188cm (6’1″) person and at that height it is ok.

Another spec is ground clearance. Officially it is at 175mm, but I saw someone measure under the main body as over 210mm, so of course it depends where it is measured.

There is a video here of someone making internal measurements.

Factory Specifications: variants.

In China there are currently two battery sizes, and three equipment levels:

In the factory specification, the ‘ultra’ adds 15.4 screen up from 12.4, 3 radar sensors up from 1, automated parking, and power tailgate. However, there is little evidence any 15.4″ screens have shipped yet, and the software for automated parking may not yet be ready.

Specifications and Equipment: Australia ‘Superior is not quite ‘ultra’.

At first, it seems the Australian RHD ‘Superior’ specification seems to get the power tailgate from ‘ultra’, but otherwise follow the lesser ‘pro’ spec.

Despite claims the Australian car is already at “full spec”, it omits the larger screen, and has been stated to come without autonomous parking.

Looking further, perhaps the ‘full spec’ claim is reasonably accurate, as it is possible that some of the ‘missing’ features were not shipping at the time of the spec, which would make the cars almost ‘full spec’ in terms of what was available when RHD cars where first specified. While it has been said that automatic parking is not available, the sample cars and brochure pictures do have the 12 parking sensors that may be required for this feature, but RHD cars seemed to have dropped back to 6 parking sensors.

For the 360° camera, it Luke Todd has stated “you can even see underneath the vehicle“, and this has now been confirmed and otherwise the 360° camera system is quite good.

Despite some debate, the manual confirms at least some cars have traffic speed sign recognition, although this is only displayed, and does not update cruise control. There is also still some question over capability for automated parking.

Owners manual in English. (plus version translated from Chinese).

Tyres.

The first Australian reviews of the Attos3 were conducted using the Chaoyang tires, but customer cars will for now at least, get a 215/55R18 “Atlas Batman” tire by Shandong Linglong.

An option in most markets the same diameter Continental 235/50R18 tyre, and reportedly the 0-100km time drops to 7.0 and the braking distance 100-0 drops from 40.7 metres to 35.8 m which is more significant. The change in tyre width could also be expected to decrease range, but all reliably consumption and range data so far is on the Batman tyres.

Software OTA – Remote Connection.

Atto 3 models in Australia are reported to come equipped with a SIM from Telstra to connect to the mobile network, and the connection and OTA software updates are included in price. This will vary by market.

The Atto 3 runs and Android based BYD ‘DiLink’ software system with sideloading explained in the maps section of this page, and even a developer page, although not yet in English.

The following are still ‘pending’ as of September 2022, although development version have been seen in operation:

  • Android Auto and Apple Car Play: In demo and expected by November 2022
  • Native navigation application: In demo, but no announced schedule.
  • Mobile phone remote access application: Q4 2022.

Full feature list, ‘pros’ and ‘cons’.

  • Key / Impressive Features.
    • Full radar cruise control with lane keeping.
    • Heat Pump.
    • lane tracking and collision avoidance including pedestrians and cyclists
    • blind spot and rear cross traffic detection and warnings.
    • LED headlights with auto high/low beam
    • Keyless entry and go.
    • Full surround camera system including under car and recordable ‘dash cam’
    • Panoramic sun roof.
    • Power Tailgate.
    • V2L.
    • Front and Rear parking sensors (6 in RHD, but 12 in some versions).
    • Wireless phone charging.
    • OTA software updates and full remote connectivity via app.
    • Tire pressure monitoring.
    • High Quality (PM2.5) Cabin Air Filtration.
    • Front seat heating.
    • USB-A and USB-C with 60W power delivery.
    • Speed sign recognition.
  • Missing Useful Features. (Unimpressive)
    • No rain sensing wipers.
    • No driver fatigue detection.
    • Single zone climate control.
    • No seat heating, or seat ventilation.
    • Although Electric Front Seats, No Memory, and only 4 way power for passenger.
    • No one pedal driving.
  • Other Missing Features (Negatives, but less significant / often options)
    • Park assist currently disabled on Australian cars.
    • Android Auto/ Apple Car play delayed until October.
    • Low quality tires on some models (e.g. fitted in Australia).
    • No regen paddles.
    • No LED matrix or turn following headlights.
    • No kick sensor (or other truck/boot hands free opening).
    • No USB-C
    • Although V2L, no internal socket.

No AWD, high performance version, yet.

So far there is only one engine specification, front wheel drive with power and torque as listed in the specification below. However, it had been reported that in the area around the rear axle, there is quite an amount of unallocated space. I have heard the theory that that perhaps the original design allowed for a fuel tank, but as a platform 3.0 car that would never have been possible. A more realistic possibility could be that given there is unused space there, perhaps the vehicle design does allow for a rear motor? It could be possible to produce an AWD version at some future date.

Comparisons.

The Competition.

Every review so far puts the Atto 3 at least one class above the only similarly priced EV available in Australia, the MG ZS EV. However, as the MG ZS is around 33% more expensive than its non-EV equivalent, it is clear the MG does not have price parity between EVs and equivalent traditional cars, while the target here is to compare the Atto 3 with equivalently priced gasoline/petrol cars. Not only is the ZS EV one size smaller, it is lacking, performance, equipment and build quality in comparison with the Atto 3.

The Kia Niro is instead the comparison vehicle, and it matches far more closely in price, performance and equipment. Plus, given the Niro is available in more markets. I am also comparing the Mercedes B-Class, and Mercedes EQA 250, and even though these would not be considered competitors, I still think the comparisons will be interesting.

Comparison Table.

I have not listed the MG yet as I feel it is not really comparable, but although these are the cars it is has interested me to compare, it is not the same list others would add.

carBYD Atto 3B 200 CDI Class W246EQA 250Lexus UX300eNiro EV (2022)XC40 Recharge(dual)
length445543594463449044204440
width18751786 (no mirror)1834184018251863
height161515571620154515451647
wheelbase272026992729264027202702
Ground Clearance175
weight1750147520402140
Luggage440488414475433
Frunk20
seats down13401547
kW150100140150150300
Nm310300375300
0-100(sec) (*=tested)7.28.97.55.0
Range?(WLTP)420900426305463418 (dual)
Efficiency kWh/100km12.6-12.7
100km13-15
110km16-18
Max Charge rate8010050?150
Battery6066.554.364.878
price k (before on)4874

Vs Telsa Model Y.

It is a somewhat strange comparison, but as the video shows, the comparison can be made. Despite the price difference, a journalist has made the comparison.

Vs Kia Niro Hybrid / e-Niro.

Niro Hybrid.

See: BYD Atto 3 v MG ZS EV v Kia Niro Electric: Pricing and features compared

Features of Hybrid (Sport model to provide closest equipment match)

  • Base Model
    • Regenerative braking
    • LED daytime running lights (DRL)
    • Bluetooth[B] multi-connection
    • Android Auto[A] & Apple CarPlay[C]
    • AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) with FCWS (Forward Collision Warning System) – Car, Pedestrian, Cyclist
    • Lane Keep Assist (LKA)*
    • Lane Follow Assist (LFA)*
    • Driver Attention Alert+ (DAA+) with Lead Vehicle Departure Alert*
    • Dual zone climate control
    • Temporary spare wheel
  • Sport adds
    • LED headlights
    • 18″ alloy wheels & Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres
    • 10.25″ touchscreen with satellite navigation
    • Paddle shifters
    • Premium seats
    • Alloy sports pedals
    • Blind Spot Detection (BSD)*
    • Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)*

Overall, the Niro Hybrid Sport has the following that the BYD is missing:

  • Rain sensing wipers.
  • Driver attention warning.
  • A temporary spare wheel.
  • Dual zone climate control.

But, relative to the BYD Atto 3, the Hybrid Sport still lacks:

  • Panoramic Sun / Moon Roof
  • Power Tailgate.
  • Surround Cameras.
  • Power Seats.
  • Keyless / Mobile Phone activated Entry.
  • Front park sensors.
  • Wireless Phone Charing (expected n updated model)

E-Niro (Again, sport to match equipment levels).

The e-Niro Adds:

  • Power driver seat (not passenger)

And as an EV, compared to the BYD Atto 3, despite the higher price lacks:

  • Heat pump.
  • LFP Battery.
  • 18″ wheels (EV has 17&, unlike the hybrid sport which has 18″)
  • Panoramic Sun / Moon Roof
  • Surround Camera. (perhaps new model)
  • Power Tailgate.
  • Power Seats.
  • Keyless / Mobile Phone activated Entry.
  • Front park sensors.
  • Wireless Phone Charing (expected in updated model)
  • V2L (expected in updated model)

Vs Mercedes B200 CDI

Why Compare To The Mercedes B Class?

This comparison is because the plan is to use the Atto 3 in the role previously tackled by the a Mercedes B-Class, and the two vehicles are remarkably similar in dimensions. The B-Class is older, and cars have progressed, but it will still be interesting to see how well the new Atto 3 compares to the older Mercedes B-Class.

Equipment.

B200 has sun/moon roof. Adaptive cruise, blind spot monitor, lane departure warning, forward collision prevention, large display, sat nav with traffic, tyre pressure monitor,

What is missing on the Atto 3?

  • Smart Park? (May still be added through OTA)
  • Seat Memory, Lumbar adjustment, height adjustment for passenger seat.
  • Auto wipers

What is missing on the B Class and is an upgrade?

  • Surround camera (even underneath?!)
  • Lane keep assist (B has only monitoring)
  • Electric tailgate
  • Keyless entry & Start.
  • Video recorder (when parked?)
  • Wireless charge
  • V2L
  • OTA

Atto 3 Videos and Reviews. (updated with reviews)

Videos.

Interview with head of Aust. Importer.

Ludicrous Feed.

Test Drives:

Wheels first test drive.
drive.com.au test drive.
First Southern Hemisphere Review.

Motor/Wheels/WhichCar Australia.

Drive.com.au

Miscellaneous


More links:

Articles and further reviews:

Accessories and Possible Upgrades.

Accessories.

See the Atto 3 Australian Atto 3 story page for Au and NZ specific accessories.

Possible Upgrades.

BYD has taken the path of having dealer networks. In the EV world, dealers increasingly need to learn to live with fixed priced orders placed on the internet, and lower revenue from servicing. One way to increase dealer revenue in a rapidly advancing would be to provide upgrades. I have no information that BYD will do this, but there are some possible upgrades that could be offered though dealerships.

Updates.

Comment?