2,000 kilometres without recharging or refuelling

BYD unveiled a new hybrid powertrain capable of travelling more than 2,000 kilometres without recharging or refuelling, intensifying the EV transition war against Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG.

The upgraded tech, which aims to put more distance between BYD and its legacy rivals, will be launched in two sedans immediately that cost under 100,000 yuan (R252,846), the automaker said at an event live-streamed from China on Tuesday evening.

The longer range means some of BYD’s dual-mode plug-in electric hybrid cars can cover the equivalent of Singapore to Bangkok, New York to Miami or Munich to Madrid on a single charge and a full tank of gas. The milestone marks BYD’s latest achievement in slashing fuel consumption since debuting hybrids in 2008.

Shenzhen-based BYD has upended the Chinese auto market with widespread price cuts, at some expense to profitability and its pricing of the ultra-long hybrids may further stoke the price war.

It sold 3 million cars last year and has delivered almost 1 million this year through April. Of every two hybrids sold in China, one is a BYD, underlining a key revenue and profit driver for the company.

Automakers globally are trying to solve consumers’ range anxiety and make vehicles that are better for the environment. Toyota also on Tuesday unveiled prototypes of a new generation of internal combustion engine that can run on hydrogen, gasoline or other fuels alongside batteries.

During the event, BYD claimed that in tests, its plug-in hybrid managed to achieve as much as 2,500 kilometers range. For now, the upgrades are destined for made-in-China cars, but are likely to be exported soon.

Electric and hybrid vehicles alike are pushing the boundaries on range to tackle what some consumers still see as a detraction when switching from gas.

BYD stopped producing cars powered by fossil fuels entirely in early 2022 and has been ramping up hybrid exports to emerging markets that lack battery charging infrastructure.

The first two vehicles to come with its the long-range capabilities are mid-sized sedans — the Qin L and the Seal 06, both of which were unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show in April. They’re part of the Dynasty and Ocean series respectively.

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2,000 kilometres without recharging or refuelling