The cheapest version of one of Australia’s cheapest electric vehicles has been delayed.

    In letters shared on the BYD Atto EV owners group on Facebook, EVDirect has notified customers who have ordered the BYD Atto 3 Standard Range that BYD is prioritising production of the more expensive Extended Range.

    “Unfortunately, we have received advice from BYD in China that the production of the Standard Range Atto 3 vehicles will not commence until estimated mid-October with delivery to Australia scheduled to start in November-December,” the letter reads.

    “This is due to the high-volume production requirements of the extended range option.”

    It’s giving customers the opportunity to keep their place in the queue by securing an Extended Range in the same colour, with an estimated delivery time of August/September 2022.

    EVDirect says almost 90 per cent of customers have opted for the Extended Range model.

    If you’re not already in the queue, you’ll be waiting until December 2022 or January 2023 for a new Standard Range according to the website.

    An Extended Range, if ordered today, will take until November or December 2022 to arrive.

    Customers had already been advised earlier this month that Atto 3 deliveries would be delayed by 6 to 8 weeks.

    The delay pushed not only deliveries but also the timeline for test drives into August or September.

    Deliveries of the Chinese electric SUV were originally set to begin in July.

    EVDirect says it’s keeping customers in the loop and prioritising getting information to them first.

    “It is well publicised that the global automotive industry as a whole is under pressure from a range of supply chain issues and logistics disruptions,” the company said in its correspondence to customers.

    “While BYD’s model provides robust protection from many of these challenges, regrettably we have been impacted by the current holistic industry conditions.”

    Priced from $44,990 drive-away depending on your state, the 4455mm-long Atto 3 competes not only with the similarly priced MG ZS EV, but also the Nissan Leaf and Kia Niro – both more expensive cars.

    The Extended Range costs an extra $3000, and offers 420km of range on the WLTP cycle – an increase of 100km on the Standard Range.

    Both variants use BYD’s in-house ‘Blade’ LFP batteries, with base cars packing 50kWh of capacity and extended range models 60kWh.

    The battery powers a 150kW and 310Nm front-wheel drive electric motor, capable of pushing the Atto 3 from zero to 100km/h in a claimed 7.3 seconds.

    There’s a 400V charging architecture, with maximum AC charging capacity of 7kW and DC charging at up to 80kW.

    BYD cars will be sold both online and through Eagers Automotive dealers, with servicing handled by the latter and also by mycar (formerly Kmart Tyre & Auto).

    The company says it’ll release warranty and servicing information shortly.

    Vehicles will be handled over at BYD Experience Centres instead of mycar locations as was previously planned, with a list of these locations beyond the existing Darlinghurst, NSW location to be confirmed shortly.

    EVDirect says these will be in “convenient locations within major capital cities across Australia”.

    The company will also organise home delivery options for an additional fee if you live more than 50km from a BYD Experience Centre.

    In early August, the company will open a new BYD Customer Care Centre – including a call centre – in Brisbane.

    BYD claims it has taken more than 3000 orders for the Atto 3 already, which would put it among Australia’s best-selling EVs already.

    To put this 3000 figure into context, market-wide EV sales in Australia between January and May 2022 inclusive of Tesla sit at 8543 units, more than half of which are the Model 3.

    The company says the Atto 3 is currently undergoing safety testing in Europe by Euro NCAP.

    Just four paint colours will be offered: standard white, along with grey, blue and red. The latter three will cost an extra $700.

    EVDirect also says there’ll be just one interior trim option and one alloy wheel option available, at least at first.

    Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are in development and will be added as over-the-air updates.

    While not a household name in Australia, BYD is a giant in the ‘new energy vehicle’ space, which as well as cars produces electric buses and even batteries for other companies. Warren Buffett is a major shareholder.

    BYD has established an Australia-focused line at one of its factories in China, and plans to commence production of the first 15,000 cars for this market. That is the kind of healthy supply only Tesla can compete with.

    A further two BYD vehicle models will go on sale both online and in-store by December 2022 in Australia, the company adds, expected to be a small EV hatch and mid-sized EV sedan.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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