A camouflaged prototype version of the forthcoming BYD ute has been spied on an Australian freeway ahead of its local launch in the second half of 2024.

    This as-yet unnamed BYD dual-cab ute prototype was captured and shared to the BYD EV Owners Australia Facebook group. It’s a left-hand drive “evaluation vehicle” according to the large yellow sticker on the tailgate of the ute.

    As recently reported, BYD is undergoing local testing and evaluation of the ute to ensure it suits Australian roads.

    “There are pickups in Australia right now that are being tested,” said EVDirect (BYD’s local distributor) CEO Luke Todd to CarExpert earlier this month.

    “The first ute arrived a couple of weeks ago and is going through testing locally.

    “We’re seeing the BYD brand become more and more Australianised and suitable for Australian roads as the brand grows its range in Australia.”

    While the full extent of local tuning and calibration specific to the Australian market is unclear at this point, Mr Todd spelled out the fact changes had already been made to the vehicle.

    “There’ll be design elements that have been made over six-to-nine months, so there’s already been elements suitable for Australia reengineered into the vehicle to make it more suitable for Australian conditions,” said Mr Todd.

    “It’s already happened. Some of the local stylings and attributes that people want to see in a ute or pickup have already been implemented by the Australian engineers in partnership with BYD engineers in China.

    “Those changes will be implemented to the ute for other markets to make it better.”

    The BYD ute will launch first as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) in Australia, using the company’s Dual Motor Intelligence (DM-i) technology.

    BYD hasn’t detailed the plug-in hybrid powertrain at this stage, though previous reports have indicated it will consist a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine mated with two electric motors for a total system output of 365kW.

    An all-electric version is also reportedly in the works, though it won’t be available at launch.

    At this stage BYD is remaining tight-lipped on local pricing of the ute, though Mr Todd pointed out its pricing strategy on the Atto 3, Dolphin and Seal electric vehicles (EVs).

    “We’ve demonstrated that we’ve brought three high-quality vehicles at prices that were unthinkable 12-24-months ago and that’s our ambition to continue to do that,” said Mr Todd.

    “The battery inside the Electric Battery Hybrid is smaller, so there’s less cost, but the actual pricing we’d need to confirm.

    “We’ll be looking at the competitors in the segment – there’s some really strong vehicles we’ll going head-to-head with and as we’ve proven, every time we’ve brought in a vehicle in our segment, in our category we’ve been very competitive, if not dominant.”

    Before BYD launches this plug-in hybrid ute locally the company plans to introduce a mid-size SUV with a plug-in hybrid powertrain in the first half of 2024.

    At this stage BYD hasn’t disclosed which SUV this is exactly, though a plug-in hybrid version of the Seal U has been previously spied in Australia.

    MORE: BYD Ute: Australian testing helping shape plug-in hybrid HiLux rival

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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