BYD's Australian importer takes huge electric car order from Uber partner

Chinese EV power brand BYD is coming to Australia, and a company that leases to rideshare and delivery drivers wants to put thousands of them on our roads in 2022/3

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Mike Costello
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Chinese electric carmaker BYD’s plan to enter the Australian market during 2021 has received a boost, after its right-hand drive distributor signed a massive deal with a vehicle subscription provider used by Uber and DiDi drivers.

The fleet plan is being billed as Australia’s largest singular electric vehicle order to date, comprising a grand total of 3000 cars for 2022/23 – though this figure was mentioned in a press release that seems to include cars destined for both this market and the UK.

A report in the Australian Financial Review claimed the Australian portion was 2000 units. Given total EV sales in Australia were somewhere around 5000 units last year, that’s potentially seismic.

The planned order, at the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) stage, has been placed by Splend, a vehicle subscription provider focused on ride-share and delivery app drivers.

Uber is reducing its commission by 50 per cent for every EV ride until June 30, 2022, to incentivise drivers to make the shift.

Splend started in Sydney in 2015, but has moved its headquarters to the UK. It claims to be “Australia and the United Kingdom’s largest operator of flexible vehicle subscription and ownership plans with a focus on the on-demand rideshare and delivery app segments”.

“Splend is looking to accelerate its expansion and this BYD EV order forms a key part of Splend’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint by transitioning to a zero emissions electric vehicle fleet,” the company added.

The extant MOU plans for BYD electric car deliveries to Splend’s Australia and UK operations to commence from early 2022, and will take two years to complete.

As reported in February, BYD’s electric cars will be sold digitally in Australia and other right-hand drive markets (including the UK) by local third party Nexport, which itself is a subsidiary of the TrueGreen Mobility Group.

BYD has become a key global manufacturer having sold more than 180,000 electric passenger vehicles last year. Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway has been a major shareholder since 2008 and owns 8.2 per cent of BYD which is listed on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges.

Nexport intends on releasing the new range of BYD electric passenger and commercial vehicles from mid-2021 with pricing starting from $35,000 in Australia.

New models coming to Australia were recently showcased at the Shanghai motor show, including the EA1 hatch that should undercut the MG ZS EV and Nissan Leaf by as much as $10,000.

It was designed by former Audi design head Wolfgang Egger.

We’re teeing up an interview with Nexport next week to discuss all things BYD ahead of the on-sale date.

Let us know any questions you might have and we will take them into consideration.


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