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NewsEverything You Need to Know About BYD

Everything You Need to Know About BYD

Your primer on BYD

  • BYD quickly becoming one of the largest automakers

  • Sells sub-$10k EV in China

BYD is one of the Chinese automakers grabbing headlines for its ultra-low-cost electric vehicles (EVs). But the company is much more than just cheap EVs, and you’ve probably already seen its products on the road in Canada. Here’s everything you need to know about BYD.

BYD was founded in 1995 as a battery development company, but not for high-tech modern cells. The company started out looking to undercut Japanese companies on nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries as those companies worked on lithium-ion. Ten years later, it was one of the largest rechargeable battery-making companies in the world.

BYD | Photo: BYD

BYD Auto, the car company, was started in 2003 and launched its first car in 2005. The first BYD PHEV came in 2008, and the BYD e6 was its first EV in 2009. Today, the automaker is partly owned by billionaire Warren Buffet.

The automaker kept growing, launching more PHEV and electric models. It also hired designer Wolfgang Egger, who honed his craft working at Alfa Romeo, Audi, and Lamborghini. Egger moved the company’s design away from vehicles that looked like copies of other brands and toward creating its own designs.

From 2020 through 2023, BYD Auto sales climbed from 427,302 vehicles worldwide to 3,024,417. The company claimed to sell more vehicles with a plug than any other in 2022, but that includes PHEVs as well as pure EVs.

Today, the name stands for “Build Your Dreams,” but that meaning was created long after the company’s founding, not from the start.

The first BYD models officially on the road in Canada are taxis. The company got approval in 2019 to sell the BYD e6 electric vehicle in Quebec, and it expected to put more than 2,000 on the road. It’s not clear how many of those have been sold, but the cars are a common sight around Montreal.

BYD’s first auto factory opened in Xi’an, Shaanxi. Today, the company has six passenger car factories in China and one in India. It is expected to open five more in the next two years, including in Brazil, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uzbekistan. The bus side of the company has another 14 plants in China and more international that include a plant for electric buses in Lancaster, California, and Newmarket, Ontario.

BYD Seagull

BYD Seagull | Photo: BYD

The BYD model getting the most attention is the Seagull, also called the Dolphin Mini. This is the one that’s on sale for under $10,000 in some countries. The basic model of the supermini has a 94 hp motor and 44 kWh battery, enough for 340 km on the WLTP drive cycle. It’s also offered with 201 hp and 427 km of range, for a much higher price.

BYD Song Plus

BYD Song Plus | Photo: BYD

This is a compact crossover sold in many global markets, and while it has a PHEV and EV now, it was initially a gas model. The Song Plus EV offers up to 605 km of range on the optimistic CLTC test, with an 87 kWh battery and 215 hp. The Song (sedan) and Song Plus are BYD’s best-sellers, reaching 640,000 units last year.

The Qin L is the latest BYD sedan and the third generation of the Qin. It uses BYD’s latest PHEV driveline which provides 215 hp and an estimated 90 km of range on the NEDC test with a 16 kWh battery. BYD sold approximately 482,000 copies of the Qin last year, including new and outgoing variants.




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