Deliveries of BYD Atto 3 electric cars will be paused for at least a week from October 21, over a technical compliance breach.
BYD Automotive and its Australian distributor EVDirect sent a joint message to customers awaiting delivery of their new EV, saying they were in discussions with the department of infrastructure and transport over a “technical matter”.
The technical issue revolves around the lack of an easily accessible child-seat top tether point for the middle-rear seat – against Australian Design Rules for a vehicle classified as a five-seater.
“BYD and EVDIRECT are both working with the relevant Department regarding a technical matter. The matter is related to the use of a child seat if positioned in the centre of the middle rear seat and the appropriate location for an anchorage point to enable the child seat to be secured,” it said.
This is the same design rule that led Honda Australia to classify its new HR-V as a four-seater earlier this year.
“BYD understands that for the vast majority of customers this may not be of relevance however, as safety is and always will be our number one priority, we continue to work with the Department to satisfy their request.
“BYD and the Department are working to resolve this matter with a view to recommencing deliveries as soon as possible,” the companies added.
The notice added that the stop-delivery notice would not impact people’s position in the delivery queue.
Last weekend, EVDirect sent an “urgent notification” to customers who’d taken delivery advising them not to fit child restraints to the middle-rear seat of the Atto 3.
BYD Australia’s importer is telling customers it is “in the process of resolving this issue and will shortly provide you with a further update,” but has yet to detail plans to rectify the breach on cars already on the road.
Instead, the BYD Atto 3 sold in Australia remains unrated, with ANCAP saying it’s now “working with BYD to finalise the applicability of a rating for Australian-specified models”.
“BYD Australia is in the process of resolving this issue and will shortly provide you with a further update,” the crash-tester said at the time.
The five-seat (as per spec sheet) BYD Atto 3 does not have an accessible centre-rear top-tether attachment – though it has top tethers and ISOFIX points on each outboard seat.
Uniquely tough Australian Design Rules stipulate any rear seat with a seatbelt must also feature a top-tether point for a child seat.
It has been noted on forums the Atto 3 has a provision for a centre anchorage below the carpet, but ADR 34 requires it to be more accessible based on the wording.
It’s also important to note the department previously gave vehicle type (MA) approval to the Atto 3.
This is not the first apparent teething issue for BYD Australia and EVDirect.
In September BYD’s Australian distributor responded to criticism of its servicing and warranty programs.