BYD’s new electric luxury SUV will be revealed on Thursday January 5, 2023.

The R1, the first vehicle from BYD’s new Yangwang (“looking up”) brand, has been teased ahead of its debut, which will take place at 3pm Chinese time, or 2am AEDT on Friday.

In addition to a tailgate-mounted spare wheel, a feature found on the likes of the Land Rover Defender and Mercedes-Benz G-Class, the R1 also features unusual lighting elements.

L-shaped lights bracket the rear window, while further down there are inverted versions of these lights as well as what appear to be back-lit patterned elements.

Up front there’s a glitzy diamond-patterned grille that echoes the rear trim elements, with the lighting elements also following the same shape as at the rear. The daytime running lights sit atop the front fenders.

Three bumps above the windscreen appear to contain sensors, including potentially LiDAR.

Car News China reports the R1 will have a quad-motor electric powertrain with an electric motor powering each wheel, like the upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQG.

A plug-in hybrid version is also reportedly planned, while a “crab mode” and tank turn function will allow for greater off-road manoeuvrability.

The R1 will also reportedly be offered with either five or seven seats.

In a statement reported by Reuters, Yangwang vehicles will be priced between 800,000 and 1.5 million yuan (A$171,850 to $322,219) – making them far and away the most expensive vehicles produced by BYD.

As of March 2022, BYD now produces only plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and battery-electric vehicles (BEVs). In Australia, it sells only the latter and hasn’t committed to offering any PHEVs.

It won’t be the first Chinese automaker to spin off a more upmarket, SUV-focused brand.

Great Wall Motor and Chery have had Wey and Jetour, respectively, for several years now, but the latest trend in China is boxy, rugged SUVs, often with some form of electrification.

To that end, GWM has rolled out its Tank brand, with its first model, the 300, already on sale in Australia with a hybrid powertrain. There’s also the larger Tank 500, while more body-on-frame SUVs have been revealed for the brand in concept form.

Jetour is also rolling out its Land Rover Defender-esque T-Series vehicles, which will offer petrol, hybrid and electric powertrains.

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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