BYD plans to start selling electric cars in Europe in 2020. Not surprisingly, the Chinese manufacturer has chosen Norway as its entry market, where BYD will initially launch with the all-electric SUV Tang EV600.
++ The article has been updated below. ++
After all, BYD is China’s largest electric car maker and the second-largest in the world after Tesla – although BYD’s NEV division also produces plug-in hybrids, whereas Tesla exclusively sticks to battery-electric cars. The European launch of BYD is also planned with a BEV.
The Tang EV600 is a mid-range electric SUV, but with a length of 4.87 meters, it already reaches the upper limit of the segment. The range (unfortunately still stated in the outdated NEDC) is 520 kilometres, and the battery has an energy content of 82.8 kWh.
The technical data corresponds to the Chinese version of the electric SUV. It is not yet confirmed whether BYD will adapt them for Europe – or whether the 180 kW front-wheel-drive model and/or the 360 kW all-wheel-drive model with two electric motors will be offered. The NEDC range of the AWD is reduced to 500 kilometres. In China, the Tang is also available as a petrol-fuelled car and PHEV.
The prices are not yet known but will be communicated before the sales launch in Norway. In China, the Tang EV600 is available from around 260,000 yuan (after subsidies), the equivalent of about 33,800 euros.
“Norway is the most advanced market in Europe when it comes to the widespread introduction and use of electric vehicles and a comprehensive charging system,” says Isbrand Ho, Managing Director of BYD Europe. However, Ho left open the question of which charging standard BYD has converted the Tang to – the Chinese GB/T standard is not widely used in Norway either; in Europe, it is mainly CCS fast-charging stations that are being set up and, to some extent, CHAdeMO chargers.
According to the European boss, sales in other countries are also conceivable. “We will closely monitor market developments, but in the long term our goal is to expand passenger car sales beyond Norway,” says Ho. He calls the offer in Norway a “marketing test”. But he is confident “that the BYD Tang’s range, design, practicality and advanced technology will appeal to discerning European buyers.”
BYD had started its foray into Europe last year reportedly when they launched a range of commercial electric vehicles. These include a delivery van, a 7.5-tonne and a 19-tonne truck and a terminal tractor. BYD has also been offering electric buses in Europe.
Update 08 May 2020: Only a few days after announcing its entry into the electric passenger car market through Norway, BYD has now also arranged the distribution: RSA will be the sole distributor of BYD’s electric vehicles in Norway and as such will also be responsible for service and spare parts. The agreement also includes the sales of electric vans and trucks. Models include the above mentioned BYD Tang eSUV, a panel van, a 7.5-tonne and 19-tonne rigid truck and a yard tractor. On the occasion of announcing the partnership, Frank Dunvold, CEO of RSA, called BYD “the only ‘real’ mobility company in the market” as they produce a range of electric vehicles as well as batteries.
Update 1 July 2020: The Chinese manufacturer has now presented the Tang EV for the Norwegian market together with its local distributor RSA at a launch event. At the event in Oslo, BYD announced that production of the new model year is scheduled to start in November 2020, with the first customer vehicles of the electric SUV to be delivered in Norway in January 2021.
At the event, some details about the cooperation with distribution partner RSA were mentioned, but these primarily concern the pilot project in Norway. RSA will offer the BYD models (besides the Tang EV also some electric commercial vehicles) via 20 dealers. According to the BYD announcement, there were no statements beyond Norway.
>> With additional reporting from Nora Manthey, London.