The BYD Ute has been confirmed for Australia, and will arrive in the second half of 2024.

    It’s set to shake up the highly competitive and high-volume segment with a unique vehicle that offers about 100km of fully electric driving range and a total of 1000km thanks to its petrol engine.

    The yet-to-be-named BYD Ute (we suspect a name that may go along with the Dolphin and Seal), which was unveiled through patent filings just a few days ago, will utilise what BYD calls a DM-i Hybrid System, which stands for dual motor intelligence.

    Although technically a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), the BYD Ute will be unique in that it will be the first EV platform ute that has then had a petrol engine added (a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol), rather than a standard internal-combustion platform ute that has been fitted with batteries.

    The PHEV BYD Ute will be followed by a fully electric BYD Ute in 2025.

    Speaking to Australian media at the pricing announcement of the BYD Seal, Luke Todd – the CEO of EV Direct, which manages the distribution of BYD in Australia – said the ute is designed with the Australian market at the very top of its priority list.

    “It’s designed so well to be suitable for the Australian market, that’s why we are making claims that we believe it will be best in class when it comes out. That will be the second half of next year,” Mr Todd said.

    “The first ute that we are bringing to Australia will have the DM-i technology, why this is so important is that the infrastructure across the country at the moment [isn’t ideal for a ute], we are doing our best… but for a lot of Australians, they want to make a transition.

    “Every other [plug-in] hybrid on the market at the moment is a petrol vehicle that has had a battery introduced. This is a complete reverse around, so much so that we are working with government authorities to get our own category. This is tech that no one has ever seen before. It’s an ultra-low emissions EV but with the best of both worlds as you have no range anxiety.”

    For the time being, the full-electric ute remains in development with cost reduction the key priority, with Mr Todd admitting that bringing such a vehicle to market now would cost in excess of $100,000.

    “DM-i is another way to get cost affordability, having a smaller battery in the DM-i technology so you can bring the vehicles to the market more cost-effectively.

    “We want vehicles that Australians can afford, we don’t want to be pushing over $100,000, and the reality is that a full EV ute at the moment would be over that because of the battery size required to power the vehicle.”

    The BYD Ute is expected to be unveiled early next year with deliveries starting around July.

    Alborz Fallah

    Alborz is the founder of CarAdvice (sold to Nine and now Drive) and co-founder of CarExpert. He is an honourary adjunct professor & entrepreneur in residence at the University of QLD. He loves naturally-aspirated V8s, V10s and V12s and is in denial about the impending death of the internal combustion engine. The best way to reach him is via Instagram.

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