China’s All-Electric Fleet Is Entering Europe

And the timing is ideal.

Tesla has another rival in Europe.

Days ago, BYD announced the first shipment of 100 all-electric BYD Tang SUVs had left the Port of Shanghai on June 7, bound for dealerships in Norway near the end of this summer, with 1,500 slated for delivery before 2022, according to a press release from the company.

This represents a substantial step for EV manufacturers in China, as BYD forges a path other companies, like Xpeng, Aiways, NIO, and SAIC’s MG intend to follow.

China's All-Electric Fleet Is Entering Europe
Photo: BYD’s initial fleet of all-electric Tang SUVs.

‘Chinese heritage, European design’ for all-electric BYD Tang SUV

Norway is first on the list of European countries to receive all-electric cars from China, with BYD supplying an initial 1,500 cars before the end of 2021. This was accomplished in partnership with RSA, another company handling sales and service. “BYD has partnered the foremost Scandinavian car distributor, RSA, to deliver sales, service back-up and parts distribution, drawing on its world-class expertise and proven track record in supporting many leading automotive brands in Norway via its extensive dealer network,” read the BYD press release.

BYD’s fleet of all-electric vehicles headed for Norway features the company’s Blade Battery, which is an 86.4 kWh battery pack reported to offer a WLTP range of 249 miles (400 km), and it might have a fifth more range at lower speeds. But the WLTP City rates the BYD at 328 miles (528 km), a little higher than the NEDC’s, at 314 miles (505 km). The 7-seat SUV will sell at a starting price of $71,816 (599,900 NOK, or €59,308). “Today is truly the start of the European dream for BYD and our passenger car ambitions,” said the BYD Managing Director Isbrand Ho, in an Insider EVs report. “With the new BYD Tang, we have a fantastic new SUV for the Norwegian market and one we are confident will provide a springboard into markets across Europe. The BYD Tang is an SUV which combines Chinese heritage with the flair of European design — a creative expression of Wolfgang Egger’s design team, and a car which is more than a match for the current market players.”

BYD Tang
Photo: The BYD Tang SUV, which will reach Norway later this year.

Tesla has a new rival in Europe

“The BYD Tang is an exceptionally well-equipped car for today’s family-orientated (sic) and climate-aware motorist,” added Ho. And BYD stands to capture a significant market share in the Scandinavian country, since this delivery comes on the heels of a modest scandal between Norway and Elon Musk’s Tesla. In May, a government council of Norway officially ordered Tesla to pay a fine of $16,000 per vehicle customer (136,000 kroner) for throttling battery charging speeds, following a 2019 software update that lowered the battery life in Tesla Model S vehicles built between 2013 and 2015.

This could be a setback in the minds of Norwegian EV customers, despite Tesla’s recent unveiling of its long-awaited Model S Plaid last Thursday, which the CEO Elon Musk claimed will shortly become the “quickest production car ever made,” during the live-streamed event. The vehicle features an estimated range of 390 miles (627.6 km), with a maximum speed of 200 mph (322 km/h), but Musk hinted that this max speed needs the “right tires.”

Additionally, the company rated the Plaid’s zero-to-60 mph (0-100 km/h) time at 1.99 seconds, despite some doubtful chatter surrounding the claim. But whether this is true or not, the high starting price of $129,990 is nearly twice that of BYD’s new Tang SUV, which is likely more ideal for Norway’s rolling hills and mountainous regions. There are other U.S. and European models making waves, like the Mercedes EQS, the Audi E-Tron GT, the Lucid Air, and the Porsche Taycan. And, since Tesla is really unhappy with Germany regarding the former’s Gigafactory Berlin, time will tell whether China’s all-electric entry into the European market will justify a further expansion, into the rapidly-unfolding all-electric infrastructure of the U.S.

Source: Interesting Engineering, 14 June 2021

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