BYD T3 van becomes Australia's cheapest electric car

The Chinese BYD T3 electric urban logistics van is now on sale for under $35,000 before on-road costs, with a claimed 300km range

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Mike Costello
Mike Costello
Comparisons Editor
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As promised, the Australian importer and distributor for Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker BYD has quietly put the T3 EV van on sale online at $34,950 before on-road costs.

The roughly Renault Kangoo and Volkswagen Caddy-sized BYD T3 claims a top speed of 100km/h, a payload of 700kg, and a driving range of up to 300km depending on speed and conditions.

The price translates to a drive-away cost (including rego, stamp duty where not waived, and compulsory third-party cover) before subsidies of between just under $36,000 and $38,000 – depending where you live.

This makes the BYD T3 Australia’s cheapest EV, overtaking the also-Chinese MG ZS EV small SUV at $44,990 drive-away.

The only other pure-electric van currently on sale in Australia is the Renault Kangoo Z.E at $50,290 before on-roads, with 200km of range.

The BYD T3 is being imported by an Australian company called Nexport, which has signed an exclusive supply agreement with the Warren Buffet-backed EV maker. It’s sold online through its EVDirect.com.au website.

The company says it’s currently “establishing a robust national platform for all post-sale maintenance and support services with a range of partners”.

Nexport is a part of the TrueGreen Group investment fund and supplies electric buses to the NSW government.

The T3 was actually launched in its home market at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show but has been updated with BYD’s new ‘Blade’ battery that uses no heavy metals and a non-toxic electrolyte, as detailed here.

It uses a 45kWh pack to drive a 70kW and 180Nm electric motor. Charging is done through a 6.6kW onboard AC charger or via a 40kW-capable DC charger with CCS connector.

Top speed is a claimed 100km/h, grade-ability is 20 per cent, and its turning circle 11.5 metres. It uses strut front suspension and rear leaf springs, and disc brakes at each end augmented by selectable regenerative braking to save on pads.

The BYD T3 measures 4460mm long, 1720mm wide and 1875mm tall, and sits on a 2725mm wheelbase.

The T3’s features include dual side sliding doors, auto headlights, climate control, a chequered cargo plate made from aluminium, a TFT instrument display, keyless entry, and button start. Only dual-front airbags are fitted.

The T3 EV van has obviously met all current ADR requirements, but there’s no ANCAP crash test score – a five-star result in which is required by some large fleet operators as part of their OH&S protocols.

“There is significant pent-up demand, whether it be from small businesses right through to large commercial entities, that want to create a cleaner outcome for their delivery services… We are targeting e-commerce providers,” TrueGreen Group Mobility CEO Luke Todd previously told CarExpert.

“We’re not only releasing vehicles at price parity [with ICE vans], but it’s coming with packages that include Evie networks and Tritium charging, so whether you want one vehicle or 1000 vehicles we will be able to offer with our partners a charging solution tailored for your business.

“… We believe that EV take-up needs to be driven by the market. If you don’t have a vehicle that people want to buy, can afford to buy, which will do what they need to do, you shouldn’t be asking for government subsidies.”

Nexport has major plans for BYD in Australia.

It will launch the BYD EA1 hatch here by year’s end, again with a claimed $35,000 starting price and a 400km-500km range. The company has already signed a deal with a vehicle subscription provider used by Uber and DiDi drivers.

The fleet plan between BYD/Nexport and Splend is being billed as Australia’s largest singular electric vehicle order to date, comprising a grand total of 3000 cars for 2022/23.

Then there’s the 2022 BYD E6 people-mover set to arrive Down Under before the end of August 2021, priced at $39,999 before on-road costs. Orders are open for that now, too.

MORE: BYD T3 electric van in Australia this year from $35,000
MORE: BYD’s Australian importer takes EV order from Uber partner
MORE: Electric 2022 BYD E6 set for local launch with $40k list price
MORE: BYD promises to slash Australian electric car prices

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Mike Costello
Mike Costello
Mike Costello is the Comparisons Editor at CarExpert.
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