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BYD ELECTRIC VEHICLES: New name enters EV market

Date: 03 January 2014   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

BYD is yet another new electric vehicle manufacturer, but it's also one that is eyeing up the fleet market, specifically postal, delivery and public sectors - and tailoring its vehicles for them. Jack Carfrae reports
The full-electric MPV-style E6 arrives in the UK

The Renaults and Nissans of the world have been leading the march with mainstream electric vehicle technology, but they're not the only ones at it. There is a handful of smaller companies, without the might of a recognised badge behind them, that have bought into the concept, one of which is BYD.

You could be forgiven for dismissing the Chinese brand as yet another green campaigner in what, in that respect, has become an overcrowded market. But what's worth noting is the fact that the firm is, at present, exclusively targeting the corporate arena in the UK.

It currently has one vehicle available on a trial basis, the E6 - a large, MPV-type model with a full-electric drivetrain and an official range of 186 miles - which is aimed squarely at large commercial operators, as managing director Isbrand Ho explains: "We're targeting the fleet operators because this vehicle is really designed with the commercial application in mind.

"So, for example, the NHS, Fedex, the postal services - those would be the ideal candidates for the application, so we're concentrating and working closely with these operators."

Originally a battery technology specialist, the company makes no secret of the fact that the car itself has come second to the technology beneath it.

Ho says electric vehicles have been around for 100 years, so are nothing new.

Isbrand Ho BYD"Over the course of that 100 years there have been many failures with electric vehicles and every time it's the battery - that is the shortcoming of electric vehicles.

"This is the first time in history that a battery manufacturer is putting, and I quote, 'standard components' onto the battery. We took the brake system, the headlights, the windshield, the seats, the infotainment system - these are all off-the-shelf items. They've been developed by Volkswagen, Toyota, BMW, Kia - thousands of manufacturers over the course of the last 50 or 70 years.

"We're not inventing the wheel; what we're doing is we're concentrating on developing a better battery, the drive system." 

The vehicles are currently operating on a trial basis in the UK and are not yet officially on sale, so full costs have yet to be established. A P11D figure in the region of £40,000 has been mooted but not confirmed.