One Finite Planet

BYD Atto 3 Australian Story.

First Published:

Table of Contents

I started a page on the Atto 3 back in April 2022, but the launch in Australia has become so complex that it justifies a separate page, so here it is together with NZ information, starting with content moved from the original page, but updated.

This is a page with details about the Australian, and New Zealand rollouts of the Atto 3 and the BYD brand, which from these humble beginnings, could become a major part of the automotive scene in both countries.

For the general overview of the Atto 3, including information learnt from the experiences of owners, including those in Australia and New Zealand, see the main Atto 3 page. For the strange events around the Australian launch, and the use of the centre rear seat for baby capsules, read on!

The EVDirect Story.

This is the background put together from watching events unfold, without any direct inside information.

Nexport, was founded in 2018, with a vision of supplying next generation, zero emissions, transport solutions to industry and government. As BYD is one of the largest electric bus suppliers worldwide, Nexport established relations with BYD. In transport contracts, local assembly, and suppliers that are not household names is the normal environment. While Mercedes and Volvo do make electric busses, barnds people recognise are the exception, and other brands are companies such as Yutong, Proterra, Power Vehicle Innovation (Gepebus), EBusco. BYD had a similar level of brand recognition with consumers in Australia in 2019 as Yutong does today, and looking at older sales figures, I found BYD produced as few as 11,900 New Energy Vehicles (PHEV and BEV combined) per month in early 2020.

However, a dream of bringing not just commercial EVs, but also consumer EVs to market in Australia began. Early ideas included local assembly in the Southern Highlands outside Sydney, and plans were based around a product with zero brand recognition by consumers.

The company ‘evdirect’ was established, with as the name suggests, the goal of identifying EVs to bring to the Australian market and sell online in a low overhead manner inspired by Tesla. As many Chinese brands, BYD included, had no brand recognition in Australia, whether all cars came from the same manufacturer or not was seen at that time as immaterial.

However, things changed, and quickly.

BYD NEV sales reached 250,000 in 2020, and almost 600,00 in 2021, and were growing at 10,000 units every from July 2021. In September 2022, BYD annualised NEV sales were a 2.4 million per year.

In the time between the start of the ‘EVDirect’ plan, and the first BYD cars reaching Australia, BYD had gone from a brand largely unknown inside China selling less than 1/3 of the NEVs as Tesla sold EVs, to convincingly outselling Tesla in all NEV sales, and challenging Tesla in EV sales. On the global stage, BYD and gone from only token efforts outside China, to a significant global export focus.

This created problems and pressures for EVDirect, who had gone from a trailblazing foreign presence to a ‘direct’ style distributor, now at odds with the BYD’s chosen dealer focused global distribution model.

Australian Top-Tether Compliance Review: 18th October 2022.

Stop Delivery Notice: 21st October 2022.

On the planned last day of the deliver ‘pause’, press report that BYD was given to notice to ‘stop deliveries’ until compliance was resolved. BYD announced this time deliveries would stop for 7 days, seemingly confident of a quick resolution, but this would seem to be the hoping for the best outcome by BYD.

“Dear Valued Customer,

BYD Automotive regret to inform that we will be pausing deliveries of the ATTO 3 for 7 days commencing 21 October 2022.

BYD and EVDIRECT are both working with the relevant Department regarding a technical matter. The matter is related to the use of a child seat if positioned in the centre of the middle rear seat and the appropriate location for an anchorage point to enable the child seat to be secured.

BYD understands that for the vast majority of customers this may not be of relevance however, as safety is and always will be our number one priority, we continue to work with the Department to satisfy their request.

BYD and the Department are working to resolve this matter with a view to recommencing deliveries as soon as possible.

Please note, this will not impact on your position in the queue of deliveries.”

From BYD to customers.

Initial Delivery Pause following compliance review: 18th October.

Assumedly this also applies in NZ, but in NZ there is no assumption it could be used.

On October 18, Australian deliveries of the Atto 3 were stopped for at least 2 days, with details of the approval for sale in Australia under review.

In as strange and perhaps ironic twist, the Atto 3 the five-star rating from Euro NCAP became a mixed blessing for the Atto 3 in Australia. An Australian ANCAP rating largely follows finding from Euro NCAP, with a simple checklist for anything uniquely Australian.

That simple review raised questions on the Australian compliance of the Atto3. The question, at least at this stage, was not about the safety rating, but as to whether then Atto 3 met the specific compliance rules to be sold in Australia, relating to top tethers for baby seats.

Reviewing the car for a safety rating, called the applicability an exemption from requiring 3 top tethers for child/baby seats during approval to be called into question.

The specific rule relates to ‘top tethers’ for fitting baby capsules. Vehicles for Australia are required to have a compliant top tether for each 2nd row seating position. Australia was one of the first countries in the world to introduce rules for safe fitment of baby/child seats, and these rules pre-date ISOFIX seat mounts.

The Atto 3 compliance stated:

Number of seating positions on the Second Row Seat(s)3
Has an Upper Anchorage been omitted, as permitted by clause
6.1.1.1, for the middle seating position of the Second Row Seat(s)?
yes
Number of unique seating positions on a Second Row Seat which is a folding seat, where fitting an Upper Anchorage would bar access to the rear seats: [Cl.6.1.1.2]0
Number of nominated seating positions for Upper Anchorages:2
Total number of Upper Anchorages fitted for Second Row Seats: [Cl.6.1]2
Total number of Upper Anchorages fitted to the vehicle: [Cl.6.1]2

That is, ‘clause 6.1.1.1’ relates to

34.3.1.1. Each seating position in the ‘Second Row Seats’ equipped with an adult ‘Seatbelt Assembly’, except the following;
34.3.1.1.1. the middle seating position where the ‘Seat’ back is divided into two or more sections which may be folded independently of each other, and the division between two sections lies substantially along the ‘Seating Reference Plane’ of the middle seating position.

It comes down to technicalities of the ‘Seating Reference Plane’, and that fitting a child seat to the centre position would become impractical due to the seat folding mechanism.

Summary.

The car was granted approval to have only ‘top tethers’ for the two outboard seating positions, and it is not unclear if this is acceptable.

Many people have noted that there is what appears to a 3rd top tether for the middle positions, but this is covered by fabric. People assumed this was the basis for the car being granted approval as a 5 seat vehicle. The assumption was that it would be necessary for those wishing to use the centre position for a child seat to cut aways the covering.

Note that there is substantial reporting that statistically, the centre position for a baby seat is the safest position. While it is possible that with the latest airbags and use of ISOFIX, this may no longer be the case, but that is just conjecture. The reports available to people suggest the centre position is the safest.

Resolution?

The Two Possibilities.

It would seem that either:

  1. The Atto 3 can be approved with 2 top tethers, and specific instructions that despite the presence of a centre seat belt, baby capsules cannot be used in the centre position
    • or
  2. Cars will need to be modified to make the centre top tether accessible. This could require safety testing of the centre top tether.
    • or
  3. The Atto 3 will need to be certified as a 4-seat vehicle. I do not see this as a viable solution, even for the interim in order to resume deliveries, but it is technically possible.

Option 1 seemed to be what BYD was hoping for, as this would require only legal expenses, and no revisions to cars. However, I have been told by unofficial sources, that a modification to make the centre top tether accessible has been developed, and is simply awaiting approval (As of 22 October 2022)

Two top tethers downside (Solution 1).

If the car does gain approval on the ground no child seat is to be ever in the centre position, this creates two possible problems, one legal, the other PR:

  • It was never really clear to prospective purchasers that the centre position could not be used for a child seat. While EVDirect did state there were only two child seating positions, given the nature of regulation in Australia, it was reasonable for consumers in the absence of a notice of the nature BYD supplied on October 18, that the limitation to two positions was about ISOFIX, and not specific exemption claimed during compliance.
  • Having any safety restriction on the use of a vehicle for young babies would become a PR problem going forward, despite the 5-star safety rating, and is not good for a new brand. The outcome could rub-off internationally, as many sources quote the middle seat position as the safest for infants.

Realistically, the two top tethers solution could enable sales to resume, but if that is possible, they should consider that only an interim solution while they implement the fix. To only be able to fit two rear child seats may not be a big restriction, but to not have the option of using the position for a baby seat rated by many as the safest position, has the potential to become a bigger problem.

The Fix Solution: Best, but possibly slow. (and apparently in progress)

There is what appears to be a third top tether already in place but hidden under the fabric of the back of the rear seat. So why is it there, but hidden? I have seen suggestions that this could be due to the seat supplier already catering for requirements in Australia, but this seems highly unlikely, as:

  • BYD is highly vertically integrated, and makes their own subassemblies and even ICs, and it seems likely they make their own seats.
  • Even if seats are from an external supplier, given the high volume, it seems unlikely that a component would be added without the customer (in this case BYD) ordering that component, which would mean BYD specifically ordered the tether to be there, rather than a component supplier simply providing it.

It seems likely BYD specified the third tether. What is not clear, is why, although if the car was ever to be used with 3 child seats, it would be necessary. Bringing the middle tether to the same level of safety as the other two tethers should not be too difficult, but then there is the question of certification. It is not clear what level of safety testing is required for compliance, which would enable sales to continue, as opposed to testing for an ANCAP rating, which given the 5-star Euro NCAP, has less time pressure.

BYD may have already even done safety testing, and even if they have not, given they have their own crash testing facilities, internal testing for them to be confident of passing independent tests could be fast, but submitting for actual intendent tests and getting results to authorities could be time consuming.

History.

Months earlier, when despite the Atto 3 was delayed, there was much speculation this was all due adjustments the need for the addition of a 3rd top tether for the Atto 3 to meet the Australian specific regulations. It turns out, even though there is what appears to be a hidden 3rd top tether, the Australian approval stated there were only two top tethers and quoted and exemption as being relevant.

Australian Specific Design Rule.

To be a 5-seater car in Australia, and certified as with 3 rear seating positions, each seating position must a ‘top tether’. In countries where baby seat rules were written later, only seats with an ISOFIX mount need a ‘top tether’, however, in Australia, it has long been that any position with seat belts in the second row must be suitable for a child seat.

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

Find us: (page has no phone numbers)

  • Sydney 499 Princess Hwy, Sutherland: 02 9545 7144
  • Sydney 2A Victoria Ave, Castle Hill: 02 9098 0668. (shared with Nissan)


Roadside Assist:

  • (Australia wide): 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 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 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 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

Potential for BYD Atto 3 in Australia: Best seller?]

Current best-sellers.

Looking at Vfacts data for September 2022, the Tesla Model Y sold 4,359 units and was placed at #3, behind the HiLux at 5170 and the Ford Ranger at 4,890, with the Mazda CX-5 a distance 4th at 2,439.

As Tesla tends to ship most cars in the last month of the quarter, months like September may flatter sales figures over the whole quarter, but the Model Y could be #1 in December.

Positions 4 (Mazda CX-5), 6 (Mitsubishi Outlander), 7 (Toyota RAV 4), and 9 (Kia Sportage) were all small SUVs, with positions 1, 2, 5, 8, all Utes, and the Model Y at 3 and Hyundai i30 at #10 the odd ones out.

Position 3/4 Best Compact SUV: Mazda CX-5.

Reading a review, the CX-5 is a similar price to the BYD Atto 3. The CX-5 is reviewed here is around 5,000 more expensive than the Atto 3 and mostly a slightly lower spec, but critically, is AWD. Boot space at 438L on the Mazda is similar to the 440 on the BYD, and interior space is also similar, but with less rear leg room in the Mazda, despite the Mazda being around 100 mm longer in overall length.

Although made in China Tesla outsold the Mazda, it would likely be harder for a Chinese brand, just as Japanese brands were a negative at one time. To sell at current Mazda CX-5 levels, the Atto 3 probably needs some extra features like rain sensing wipers, memory and more adjustment for seats, and an optional AWD model. All of these are possible within 12 months from the current date of November 2022 and competing for the number 3 or 4 place would take at least 12 months, so it is possible.

An Atto 3 as number 1 one day?

Writing now in late 2022, I would say not until perhaps 2025, but it is possible. The Tesla Model Y, despite the high price tag, has already reached number 3. There are also many things that could go wrong, but if BYD keeps on the current path and tensions with China or the Chinese government do not disrupt things, then it is very possible.

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.

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.

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.

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:

Accessories.

Updates.

Comment?