It’s time for the local electric vehicle market to welcome yet another new challenger, and this time it’s BYD. Short for Build Your Dreams, the brand has had a rocky existence since its debut in 2003 but has grown into a Chinese carmaking giant and a credible EV manufacturer in its own right—and now it’s coming to Malaysia through Sime Darby Motors.
The company teased its upcoming market launch and opened registrations of interest last week. Users who input their details received preliminary information about the cars, including the models being introduced and estimated pricing range. They were also told that BYD is gearing up for an early December launch, with deliveries kicking off in the first quarter of 2023.
All told, BYD will debut two EVs in Malaysia next month—the e6 MPV and the Atto 3 crossover. Prices are estimated to be between RM150,000 and RM170,000, with the e6 likely to be the cheaper of the two, given its bargain basement nature. The Atto 3, meanwhile, will be offered in standard and extended range variants.
BYD e6 specs and features
Let’s start with the car that should be the most popular of the two. The e6 is a five-seater MPV, meaning that it doesn’t have the people-carrying capacity of the likes of the Perodua Alza and Proton Exora. It’s also not as powerful as those cars, as its front electric motor produces just 94hp, although torque is a decent 180Nm.
What that weedy motor does do is enable the e6 to be priced around the ballpark of the base Hyundai Kona Electric—which is nowhere near as big as this car—yet have a WLTP-rated range of 415km thanks to the e6’s large 71.7kWh BYD Blade battery. The e6 supports up to 6.6kW of AC charging and 60kW of DC charging, taking 12.5 hours and 1.5 hours respectively for a full charge.
There are a few other standout features, like a large 580-litre boot and a unique 10.1-inch touchscreen that can be rotated to either portrait or landscape mode. Our cars should mirror the specification sold in Singapore, which includes equipment such as keyless entry, leather upholstery, automatic air-con with rear vents, an electronic parking brake, a reverse camera and a powered tailgate.
One area where the e6 will probably be lacking is safety—the car is sold down south with only four airbags and no autonomous emergency braking. The e6 will not only be sold to the public, as it will also be used as a taxi as part of a collaboration between Tenaga Nasional (TNB) and TeksiKu.
BYD Atto 3 specs and features
Those looking for something more sophisticated will want to check out the Atto 3, a crossover that slots neatly between the Proton X50 and X70 in size. It comes with more than double the horsepower of the e6—201hp and 310Nm of torque, to be exact—but has a much smaller 49.9kWh battery that provides a range of 345km.
If you want more range, you’ll have to spring for the extended range model, which gets a 60.5kWh battery to deliver a claimed range of 420km. Fully charging the bigger-battery Atto 3 takes 9.5 hours with an AC wallbox charger, or 1.2 hours with an 80kW DC fast charger (the standard model is limited to 70kW).
The Atto 3 is far more stylish than the e6, especially on the inside where you’ll find an organic flowing design, lots of steampunk-esque details and guitar-like strings on the door pockets. The larger 12.8-inch touchscreen can still rotate but now does so electrically at a push of a button, while a tiny five-inch instrument display sits ahead of the driver.
The kit list is pretty good too—although Malaysian specifications have yet to be finalised, the car can be had with LED head- and taillights, an NFC smart key card (similar to the new Honda Civic e:HEV), power-adjustable front seats, 31-colour ambient lighting, a Qi wireless charger, an eight-speaker Dirac sound system and a 360-degree camera system.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto should also be added via a software update by the time the car goes on sale. Like the e6, the Atto 3 is a five seater, and the tailgate opens up electrically to reveal a 440-litre boot.
Safety kit is also extensive, with seven airbags, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring and a door opening warning all available in certain markets. Hopefully our cars will come fully featured.