Tesla rival BYD launches affordable electric car in South Africa — with load-shedding backup

Chinese automotive giant Build Your Dreams (BYD) has officially launched its first car in South Africa — the fully-electric BYD Atto 3.

The Atto 3 is a compact SUV powered by a single front-wheel-drive electric motor with a peak output of 150kW and 310Nm torque.

That enables it to accelerate from 0–100km/h in about 7.3 seconds.

The Atto 3 comes with one of two battery capacities — a standard 50kWh model and an extended range variant with a 60.5kWh battery.

These packs offer ranges of 345km and 420km, respectively, when measured on the WLTP cycle.

The standard range model can recharge at up to 70kW using DC fast charging, while the extended range variant can go up to 80kW.

That lets the larger of the two batteries charge from 30% to 80% in roughly 29 minutes and 0–100% in about 80 minutes.

On the inside, the BYD Atto 3 features plenty of the latest equipment, including a 12.8-inch rotating touchscreen, heated seats, and numerous safety features.

The latter includes seven airbags, forward and rear collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping and changing assistance, a direct tyre pressure monitoring system, and a front passenger seat ISOFIX anchor points.

These ensured the European version of the Atto 3 received a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

But perhaps the standout feature of the car that might appeal to South Africans is its vehicle-to-load (V2L) support.

V2L enables the Atto 3’s battery pack to supply standard 120/240V power to run several home appliances.

The car supports up to 3.3kW power output, similar to a moderately-sized inverter for a grid-tied backup power system.

In other words, the car can act as a load-shedding defence system when needed.

BYD illustrated this capability on stage during the company’s official local launch in Melrose Arch by running a large coffee machine using power from a car.

Launch date and pricing

BYD is China’s biggest electric car maker and is hot on the heels of Tesla for the global top spot.

Tesla has even started using BYD’s Blade batteries in versions of the Model Y made at its Gigafactory in Berlin.

These models have recorded faster charging times than those using the CATL batteries fitted to other Tesla cars.

The BYD Atto 3 will roll out to South African showrooms with a starting price of R768,000 for the Standard range version and R835,000 for the Extended range model.

All models come with a standard 5-year warranty and 100,000km maintenance plan.

MyBroadband has learnt that the first models have already arrived at dealers and if all goes as planned, sales should start in July 2023.

The table below summarises the specifications of the BYD Atto 3.

BYD Atto 3 specifications 
Specifications Standard Extended 
Maximum power output 150kW
Torque 310Nm
Drivetrain Front-wheel drive
0-100km/h acceleration time 7.3 seconds
Battery capacity (useable) 49.92kWh 60.48kWh
Range (WLTP) 345km 420km
Energy consumption (WLTP) 14.5kWh/100km 14.4kWh/100km
AC Charging speed (home) 7.4kW
DC Charging speed (public) 70kW 80kW
Vehicle-to-load (V2L) power output 3.3kW
Ground clearance 175mm
Dimensions 4,455 x 1,875 x 1,615mm
Towing capacity (unbraked/braked) 700kg/750kg
Boot capacity 310 litres with spare wheel
440 litres without spare wheel
1,340 litres with seats folded down

BYD Atto 3

Now read: BMW invests R4.2 billion to build hybrid X3 in South Africa

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Tesla rival BYD launches affordable electric car in South Africa — with load-shedding backup