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WHAT'S NEXT FOR BYD IN SINGAPORE?


Text | Mattheus Wee
Photos | BYD, Design Team, Editorial Team

24 NOVEMBER 2022
The practical and comfortable e6 has proven its might in cargo and people-hauling, while the fantastical Atto 3 is now in full sail. What else can we expect from BYD?

In more than one way, 2022 has felt like a turning point for BYD.

Up from just 89 units last year, 523 new cars from the firm had already been registered as of this September, a nearly six-fold increase in three-quarters of the time. That means that before it's even concluded, 2022 will mark its best year on record.
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More importantly, apart from the growing recognition of the second-gen e6 MPV, the all new Atto 3 reached our shores back in July as the first fully-bespoke EV we've gotten from the marque.

Nonetheless, success isn't attained overnight. Peer closer and one will find that where BYD has arrived at today is the result of years of experience and expertise.

A brief history: Pioneer in the EV space

BYD was pushing the needle on cleaner vehicles long before it was a 'trend' - or in fact, a mandate. As a fully-electric brand (at least locally), it has thus managed to introduce at least five separate models to date.
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Six years ago, many carmakers had yet to unveil even their first fully-electric model. Amidst the lack of infrastructural (and general public) support, however, the first-generation e6 took a brave first step - and landed in Singapore as part of the first-ever fleet of electric taxis, run by now-defunct operator HDT.

Curious as to why, of all its models, the e6 was chosen? So were we.

To answer this, BYD Singapore clarified with us that the mini MPV was put forth as it had already served as a successful case study back in Shenzhen, China. Most of the megacity's e-taxis were, and still are BYD-badged.
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The car's blend of utility and practicality spoke for itself. In its raised hatchback shape, one could find a sizeable 450-litre trunk. While remaining manoeuvrable in size, its relatively wide body and flat rear floor also meant that carrying three rear passengers was a breeze.

And of course, the car could already cover close to 400km on a single charge thanks to its 80kWh battery. Topping the juice up wasn't difficult, too, taking just two hours via an AC outlet.

Not too long after the e6 was opened up for private purchase in mid-2019, the T3 commercial van, and its passenger-vehicle foil, the M3e MPV, arrived in rapid succession.
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In particular, the T3 was crucial to Singapore's EV scene as BYD had observed a gap in the market for all-electric, light-goods commercial vehicles.

Besides having a decent payload, the more pleasant driving experience provided by a silent, single-transmission drivetrain made long hours on the road far more bearable, especially when compared to the rougher drivetrains associated with CVs.
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In the grander scheme of things, the need for such vehicles has also always been pressing - they are extremely beneficial to Singapore's net emissions considering their high mileage.

Today, the success of attempting to plug this gap early still stands. More than 500 units of the T3 have been registered since its introduction according to official data, helping BYD become the top electric CV seller in Singapore since 2020.

The present: Catching Singapore's EV wave

Even if drivers are not suddenly becoming more environmentally-conscious today, infrastructure is changing. Amidst the fluctuations in the crude oil market, daily running costs are also, more than ever, a concern to car owners.
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As such, the end result is the same: More are considering switching to an EV. In fact, statistics released by The Straits Times last month show that more have already switched to an EV.

Well-poised with a wealth of experience already in its pocket, BYD has been quick to ride on this quickly-warming attitude to EVs, to build cars better boasting both intrinsic appeal and day-to-day usability.
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The first out of the two headliners of BYD's local line-up today is the second-generation e6.

Once again, marathons are its calling card - an impressive WLTP-rated range of 510km means it has found favour with fleet owners.

Even competitors that have debuted after are not capable of similar distances on a single charge.
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But there is plenty to woo the average motorist over also as a private passenger car: Good cargo capacity, and a neat, sensible cabin featuring a swanky, rotating infotainment touchscreen.

Inarguably, however, the gleaming star is still the aforementioned Atto 3.

Built on the firm's proprietary e-platform 3.0, the SUV reaps the benefits of its dedicated roots accordingly.
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One will find whimsy and modernity in equal measure inside the car, where its cabin is awash with a variety of colours and textures.

Fun fact: Feel free to pack a tiny fridge if you're ever taking an extended carpark picnic, because this thing can morph into a mobile power station, and power it with its V2L (vehicle-to-load) capabilities.

But practicality and performance are both also greatly enriched.
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The Atto 3's bespoke architecture lends itself to a higher wheelbase-to-length ratio, bestowing the cabin with a good deal of legroom in the rear and up front. And as expected from the firm, the Atto 3 is a proper long-distance runner, its 60.5kWh battery managing up to 480km of range.

Its performance is also unlike anything we've seen before from BYD.

The car's single motor produces 201bhp and 310Nm of instantaneous torque for a 7.3 second century sprint, easily making it the most powerful car ever introduced here by the firm.
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What's next for the brand in Singapore: More fantasy?

BYD's goal has always been to work towards a world with zero vehicular emissions. This much hasn't changed from when it started.

Therefore, expect continued efforts from the firm in our transport landscape on the whole. Dream-building has never been isolated to the arena of private passenger cars, but also commercial and fleet vehicles. (Electric forklifts are now a thing.)

Although BYD Singapore is still keeping mum on what partnerships it is intending to ink with charging service providers here, casting one's field of vision wider may provide hints as to how these might take shape.
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Earlier in March this year, the firm signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Shell to - as a spokesperson tells us - "accelerate the energy transition and improve the charging experience for BYD's customers".

Starting in China, this will slowly branch out to Europe before reaching other parts of the globe. The European bit, mind, is already happening. Shell was also present at the 2022 Paris Auto Show this past October, and announced that it would be providing its facilities and services to BYD's European customer base via its pool of 300,000 charging piles across continental Europe.
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Speaking of Paris, the Auto Show was also significant for another reason: It helped to debut three EVs - the Han luxury sedan, Tang SUV, and Atto 3 (yes, Singapore got it first) - to the European market. If the former two cars come to Singapore, they will once more be groundbreaking for BYD by penetrating new market segments - especially as higher-end offerings.

Are these coming to Singapore? Once again, BYD Singapore wasn't able to comment on what exactly customers here can expect next.
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But its coy response holds much promise. "We plan to focus more on the mid to premium range of passenger models to remain relevant in the EV market."

Just recently, news broke too that BYD is aiming to launch a new premium electric car brand - called 'Yangwang' - in 2023. It's likely its first model will be an SUV. While all we may have for now are strong hints (but no concrete answers), what definitely lies on the horizon for the Chinese marque is quite clear: Bigger dreams.