One Finite Planet

BYD Atto 3 / Yuan Plus: Affordable EV arrives in Australia, and then the world.

First Published:

Table of Contents

The Atto 3 (or Yuan Plus), is not only BYDs first global car, but also what I would call the first mainstream, 3rd wave affordable EV for the west, ending the era of EVs as being called just rich man's toys, and the dominance of Tesla.

While BYD has exported cars before, the Atto 3 is based on the "global focused" e-platform 3.0, and with a more significant, and challenging, launch into larger markets than previous BYD tentative exports, is now part of a much bigger international push. Unlike lower volume that BYD Tang and Han models, the Atto 3 is set to change the market for price parity EVs globally.

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.

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.

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.

Details From Drivers: 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. 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.

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’.

The good news is that other features lacking at this time, such as auto parking and road sign recognition could come though OTA updates.

I will in the next few days again inspect sample cars. As soon as road tests are available, I will update further.

Regen on the Atto3: It needs the brake pedal, and 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 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 like regenerative braking, but 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 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 Wh/km or less (Range 510 km or more)
  • 100km/h: 130-150 Wh/km (400 km)
  • 110km/h: 150-170k Wh/km (350 km)
  • 120km/h: 180-210 Wh/km (285 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, but the real world data from China looks optimistic.

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 bacl 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 consumer 140 Watts per kilometre.

W consumedAdd kW/h To Charge (85%)Full Charge (Hrs)City Range / Hour
8 Amp charge cable1.84 kW1.5 kW / h40 h10.8
10 Amp charge cable2.3 kW1.95 kW / h 36 h 20 m14
15 Amp charge cable3.45 kW2.9 kW / h20 h21
7 kW wall unit7 kW5.95 kW / h10 h42.5

In Australia, from a normal 10 Amp mains socket, most type 1 charging cables, as with the one supplied with the vehicle, are configured to continuously deliver 8 Amps. A 10 Amp cable is also possible, as is 15 Amps from a 15 Amp socket.

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 an 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 are have frees based on per minute of charging time, vehicles only charging at 7kW would be getting less charge.

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 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. I will explore this aspect further in a dedicated page.

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: longer real range from same size battery, and faster charging for charge rate!

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.
  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 Australia launch and log.

Log.

At this time, pending events are:

  • 2022 Feb 19: Australian orders open.
  • 2022, April 1: First Australian Cars announced as ‘in production’.
  • 2022, June 15: Sample RHD cars arrived in Australia. So far, 9 have been sighted, but it is estimated to be up to 20.
  • 2022, July 1: Australian Delivery Delay Announced.
  • 2022, July 21: Type approval for Australia confirmed(required for test drives and full reviews)
  • 2022 August: First production shipment (April build / July Delivery) shipping announced.
  • 2022 August 22: The revolt begins that evening follow service and warranty announced.
  • 2022 August 24: First customer delivery in New Zealand.
  • 2022 August 31: EVDirect updates service pricing, allow for low kms option.
  • 2022 September 2nd: First customer deliveries in Australia.
  • ??ANCAP safety rating to be confirmed.

Contact Information:

Website: bydautomotive.com.au
Email: support@bydautomotive.com.au
Phone: 1 300 293 288
Road Side Assist (South Aust): 1 800 062 195

BYD Shift the goal posts in Australia: Official policy and Dealers, Not Direct.

When EVDirect launched the Atto 3 in February 2022, BYD had no “regional warranty policy”:

“When we launched in February, BYD hadn’t set their global warranty policy, or especially for this region, so we had to go it alone. We went with what we had agreed at the time, and that was a ‘seven plus seven’ [years of vehicle and battery warranty],” EVDirect managing director Luke Todd told Drive.

“Between February when we launched, and the last few months when we’ve been preparing [for first deliveries], the two things that have changed are that BYD have come out with a regional warranty package, which is the same in every country, right throughout this whole [Asia-Pacific] region. So that was slightly different. That was an ‘eight plus six’ [year] variant.

2022 Aug 24: BYD Australia cuts Atto 3 warranty, reveals high servicing costs

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.

This contrasts with the original EVDirect direct plan of a business model that was, well, direct. Very much like Tesla with bypassing traditional dealers.

It now seems very likely BYD has a adopted global strategy of going though dealers, and this has spread to Australia.

Whether EVDirect added the Eagers dealer network to the picture on their own initiative, or were pushed by BYD is not transparent to outsiders, but a dealer network increases the cost of service and maintenance, which also feeds into warranty costs. How much impact depends on the market, and Australia, somewhat like the USA, is a market where the impact is significant. Tesla went to great lengths to avoid dealer costs, while BYD currently has a strategy of embracing them.

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.

The Service and Warranty Revolt.

Dealers, service costs and warranties.

EVDirect is now facing a revolt over service and warranty arrangements.

Service schedule and prices: released August 22nd 2022.

The service schedule for the Atto 3 is more expensive than almost all other electric vehicles. Factors making the service expensive are:

  1. Time based checks on components that logically wear based on use, or distance travelled rather than time, make up a significant part of the service costs.
  2. ‘Capped price’ cost schedule needs to cover worst cost labour costs, even for highest cost locations, of a national dealer network.
  3. A conservative approach to a vehicle based on a new platform that includes some checks that over time will be found statistically to error on the side of caution, as also happened with Tesla.

In comparison with Tesla, significantly more expensive, as well as being more expensive than Chinese EV rival MG. How much more expensive than competitors, depends on distances driven, because a key issue with the service schedule, is how many things require frequent service on a time basis, regardless of distance travelled.

In Australia, the average annual distance per vehicle is 12,000 kms per year, and while the service schedule is somewhat comparable for those who travel 20,000 kms per year, the need to inspect and sometimes replace components every years makes servicing expensive.

The second factor, but a less significant one, is the change from the original plan to use MyCar for service, to a plan to also use the Eagers dealer network for servicing. The business model of MyCar depends on service by them being lower cost than dealer networks like Eagers, but now recommended pricing, which also applies to MyCar, has to be satisfactory to Eagers dealers. In reality, service pricing may be lower than the announced schedule, as the schedule is price official service points cannot exceed, but not a true fixed price. Fixed prices occur when brands subsidise costs at service points, so the customer is only partly funding the cost of each service. In these cases, as the service actually costs more than the customer is paying, and the service point is only subsidised on the difference, the result is a true fixed price and neither higher or lower. In this case, it appears prices can still be lower.

In reality, it is very likely that service pricing will be fall relative to others over time, just as it did with Tesla. As there is no consume lock into any announced pricing, BYD owners will in future be able to access competitively priced servicing. However, there are lessons to be learnt, and there could be a cost to learning those lessons.

Update Aug 31 2022: Service price fall already!

EVDirect released a service schedule for lower maintenance costs, as per this article.

Months*31224364860728496
abacabacAv
20,000 km old0190.37504.25190.37661.32190.37504.25190.37661.32386.58
20,000 km new ’20k’0189370189447189370189447298.75
12,000 km new ’12k’0189189189189189189189189198.00

Note the times only apply if the 12,000 or 20,000 distance is not yet travelled within that number of months. This means a person travelling under 12,000 km per year will have fixed price annual services. When distance travelled exceeds 12,000 kms per year, people can either service at that time for the reduced price, or wait until the 12 months or 20,000 kms is reached on the ’20k’ schedule.

Prior to 60,000kms travelled, people can move between schedules, but if over 60,000 kms traveld within 5 years, then the ’20k’ schedule is ‘locked in’.

So how did EVDirect achieve a reduction in service charge, given it is not EVDirect who perform the service. There are services conducted at franchises that are either dealerships and MyCar locations?

There are 4 possible scenarios:

  1. Either dealerships and MyCar locations agreed to perform the same work for a lower price.
  2. EVDirect has agreed to subsidise the cost of services, and/or the cost of parts required at service time.
  3. The service schedule was revised, resulting in less work required and thus lowering prices.
  4. Some mixture of the above.

The fact that ‘a’ services are basically the same price, seems to largely rule out option 1. On the new 20k plan, ‘b’ and ‘d’ services are reduced in price, suggesting option 2, with very likely the parts required now being supplied to service locations at a lower price.

The new 12k means that either EVDirect is providing a greater subsidy to drivers who drive less, or the schedule of service work has been reduced for vehciles that have travelled less distance.

Logically, when distance is reduced, the ‘a’ inspection could be skipped at ‘b’ and ‘c’ services, thus delivery most of the savings of the ’12k’ service plan.

Warranties Backgound.

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 warranty sieve, and Australian downgrade.

It was originally announced in February 2022 that there would be a blanket 7 year warranty on the Atto 3 in Australia. However, when warranty details were announced, not only did the warranty on the car drop by one year to 6 years, to a customer base already disappointed by delivery delays, and the reduction from 7 years, it appeared it had suddenly developed ‘holes’ like a sieve, where many items fell through and are now covered for much shorter times of 6 months, or 3 or 4 years.

The battery and drive unit did increase warranty to 8 years, so without the ‘sieve’, it could have been argued to be the same on average.

Warranty ContentWarranty Period
(whichever comes first)
In New Zealand?
Traction Battery8 years/160,000 kilometers
SOH ≥70%
Yes
Drive Unit
(Motor, Motor controller, Motor controller with DC assembly,
High voltage electric control assembly)
8 years/150,000 kilometersYes
Whole vehicle lights, Tire pressure monitoring module,
Suspension, ball joint
4 years/100,000 kilometersNo †
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 kilometersNo †
Lead-acid storage battery (12V)1 year/20,000 kilometersNo †
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 kilometersNo †
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 kilometersYes
Australian warranty is a direct translation of BYD warranty for China,

Comparing The New Zealand Warranty.

Then came the warranty for New Zealand which appear far simpler, had the clause “had the difference of but had 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”

If all of the items within the 4 boxes marked ‘No’ for New Zealand in the table above could be “consumed due to natural wear and tear” in the relevant time frame, then the warranties become identical.

But are these items “consumables”? Or more specifically, if any of the 3 year, or 4 year items fail after the 3 or 4 years, would that after that time due to wear, and thus also excluded in New Zealand?

  • The “6 months” items could be considered “consumables”, and the main minor problems with this list for the electric Atto 3 is that there is no clutch, and the bulbs being LEDs should last longer.
  • The 1 year warranty on the 12 battery could still be applied by the NZ warranty, but may not be.
  • The “3 year” items realistically after having lasted 3 years, should only fail due to wear after that time, but failure due to wear within 3 years or 60,000 kms is could be concerning.
  • The “4 year” times are a little strange in that needing replacement due to wear in “4 years” seems problematic, whilst 100,000 kms seems reasonable. If the warranty was 6 years /100,000 for these items it would be significantly improved.

Overall, the difference between the two warranties is probably much smaller than it a appears at first.

The “6 month consumables” would always be excluded, as no warranty of 5 years or over is ever going to cover brake pads or tires or other ‘consumables’, but even these items attract more attention because people are already in a negative more because there are so many different categories on the warranty.

The following would improve the Australian warranty:

  • remove exclusions for items not present in battery electric vehicles for Australia.
  • extend to 6 years/100,000 on all items in the 4 year category.
  • extend to 6 years as many as possible of the items in the 3 year category.

However, many people would not be happy unless the warranty in Australia matches the warranty in New Zealand, although there could even be situations where if part wears before 4 years, it may be better covered by the Australian warranty.

Other panics: Apps, Maps, or lack thereof and AEB Limitations.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (AA and AC).

These are applications that allow ‘screen mirroring’, or display and touch operation of phone by the car screen as would normally happen on the phone. Some people mount phones on a holder to get the same effect, but without a larger screen. There are two theories on Android Auto or Apple CarPlay:

  • Wireless Android Auto(AA) and Apple CarPlay(AC) are essential for a car to be a modern car.
  • The use of phone Apps though AA/AC is only a Band-Aid for cars without their own quality software.

Note that Tesla does not offer these apps, and are regarded as having quality software. I have seen the comment that in China, offering AA/AC is considered an admission the car does not have its own quality software.

The Atto 3 currently (September 15 2022) is currently scheduled to have AA/AC available from Q3 2022, and Q3 ends in only 2 more weeks. The software icons can already be seen on the screen of an Atto 3 on display in Queensland, but as far as I am aware, not one has seen the software tested yet.

To confuse things further, a video by Tom of Chasing Cars, stated he was told that the Atto 3 will not have AA or AC. Tom then correct that with a statement that AA/AC is scheduled, and also corrected the comment in the video about torsion beam rear suspension with is in fact independent rear suspension. There are other errors, but they are minor. That is the nature of publishing, and he has already fixed the main ones. I choose an easy format to allow correction.

It has been confirmed that wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will be available, and likely very soon, having already been seen on cars with more advanced software, such as the version in this video.

Maps: Nav and Waze.

The native Nav app, previewed here, should be available during October 2022, but it is not the only option.

While this video review from Costa Rica back in July clearly shows some form of Sat Nav in action, and it is appears to be Waze. Side loading of apps works and was first documented in a from a New Zealand Facebook post, (instructions here by Clint). Waze, ABRP (a better route planner) and Spotify can all be side loaded, and the mapping apps (Waze and ABRP) both provide Satnav functionality, even though no Satnav App is loaded on delivery. The Facebook group is private, and as such I do not participate, but I can confirm the sideloading has been done in New Zealand.

AEB 45km/h limitation (Automatic emergency braking).

Another panic arose from a review that stated:

However, the autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system only works up to 45km/h, something that makes it tough to achieve a five-star rating.

2022 Aug 24: BYD Atto 3 2022 Review

To be clear, there is some limitation relating to 45km/h. From the manual:

The AEB system is activated when speed reaches 4 km/h, but it can only reduce vehicle speed when it does not exceed 45 km/h. Careful driving is always required, because the system may not be triggered correctly.

Manual

However, as other parts of the manual mention the AEB functions at higher speeds, it is not as simple as there being no AEB at speeds over 45km/h.

The idea AEB only functions below 45km/h seems based an interpretation of what is stated in the manual, which itself is a translation from Chinese that looks to have been ambiguous in the first place. The reviewers did not report a test where, while driving at over 45km/h, they used a second vehicle to trigger an emergency braking situation.

There are reports the AEB will only reduce speed by 45km/h, and, more likely, that at over 45km/h AEB still functions, but is insufficient to prevent collisions. This is quite common. BYD have had AEB in vehicles for many years that functions at over 45km/h and would be unlikely to suddenly disable it.

Australia Delivery Delay Mystery.

August 2022 Deliveries update and spreadsheet.

A spreadsheet of actual customers and their schedules was created by “Patrick W” on whirlpool.

As per the ‘story’ below, deliveries were delayed from July by 6-8 weeks which meant to August or September. There have been several statements that deliveries will start in August, but as of August 24th, still no consumer test drives or deliveries are yet scheduled. Why are they waiting? I have visited the experience centre in Sydney and they have cars, recharging, and everything needed to start test drives. It is almost as though test drives will not start until Eagers is also ready.

The Story.

On July 1, after only a few days earlier appearing confident test drives in Australia would still happen in June, the Australian importer, EVDirect, notified customers with orders that cars to Australia would be delayed. The reason was not specifically stated, but more implied.

It is well publicised that the global automotive industry as a whole is under pressure from a range of supply chain issues and logistics disruptions. While BYD’s model provides robust protection from many of these challenges, regrettably we have been impacted by the current holistic industry conditions. Despite our best efforts to minimise the impact on our customers, test drives and initial deliveries will be pushed back by approximately 6 to 8 weeks. 

EvDirect Email

The email also revealed production had not yet started. Given the time for production and shipping, the delay had been clearly known by someone for weeks. At the time of the email, EVDirect should have been aware of a delay, as type approval for selling the Atto 3 in Australia had not been yet obtained, there could be no certainty any cars were ready for shipping to Australia. As recently as July 13, government records still did not show type approval, however there is a report type approval was confirmed on July 8. This lead to speculation that cars previously allocated for Australia had been reallocated due to lack of Australian compliance. At this time, while this is possible, it is just guesswork, and the statement by EVDirect that ‘in production’ is a phase of the process that included being in the queue for production, may be true, but it does mean messages are misleading.

There is also the mystery of how New Zealand received demonstrator cars prior to Australia, when plans were Australia to have demonstrators first. Again, Australian compliance seems to be the issue as cars had been seen in Australia. New Zealand has simpler compliance rules, and may have compliance to allow consumers to test drive cars earlier than Australia, even without having received them earlier.

Several people have observed a clear ‘non-compliance’ of the Atto 3 with Australian requirements: the lack of a baby seat ‘top tether’ fitting for the middle rear seat. This is a unique Australian requirement, where each rear seat much have this ‘top tether’ fitting. Either for Australia the car becomes a 4 seat vehicle with no middle seat belt, or a five seat vehicle with both seat belts and ‘top tethers’ for all three positions in the rear seat. So far, no Atto 3 yet seen (as of July 16) complies. There may also be other reasons for failure to have compliance in Australia, but still two weeks after the announcement of the delay, no Australia compliant car has been seen, and compliance does not yet show on the official Australian compliant vehicles web site.

Was Australian compliance delayed by “supply chain issues and logistics disruptions”? Possibly. This is the only interpretation that fits the lack of compliance and communication from EVDirect, but it does make things somewhat opaque if that is the case. It may also be the BYD, who would have responsibility for Australian compliance, were not keeping their Australian distributor, EVDirect, fully up to date.

There are reports as of July 16, that cars begin shipping to Australia on July 19. In fact the ship in question was delayed until the July 21st, the exact same day ‘type approval’ was obtained to enable shipping to Australia. This opens the possibility that type approval was delayed until the last possible moment, and the problem really was simply “supply chain issues and logistics disruptions”.
The type approval at this time does not include any rating for towing rating, which may still come later.

Type Approval, also known as ‘Compliance’.

This is the approval required for vehicles to be deemed ‘road worthy’ in Australia.

Safety Rating, EuroNCAP and ANCAP.

There are articles suggesting that as of time of writing, June 2022, the Atto 3 had not yet been crash tested. These claims are badly worded. While the Atto-3 does 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. So while official listings also require independent testing for Euro-NCAP, which can be completed at one of the labs in China, and then reports from those tests to be assessed together with reports on safety equipment before either Euro-NCAP or ANCAP officially release ratings, the vehicle would have been crash tested and results known to BYD.

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

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” tire by Shandong Linglong. There are reports that with a same diameter Continental 235/50R18 tyre, 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 would also be expected to decrease range.

Software OTA – Remote Connection.

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

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 park 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.
  • Missing Useful Features. (Unimpressive)
    • No rain sensing wipers.
    • No driver fatigue detection.
    • Single zone climate control.
    • Possibly no traffic sign recognition: This is on Chinese cars, and is present by not yet tested.
    • 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 fitted in Australia.
    • No regen paddles.
    • No LED matrix or turn following.
    • 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?

  • Seat heaters? (Now included New Zealand. )
  • Smart Park?
  • 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:

Updates.