They’re coming.

    BYD‘s distributor EVDirect has released images of the first 1000 Atto 3 electric SUVs heading to the garages of Australian buyers.

    “Committed to helping make the world greener and cleaner, BYD is stoked with the successful shipment of the first 1000 ATTO 3 all-electric SUVs on Australian shores,” the company said on its Facebook page.

    In case you can’t tell, they’ve been arranged to spell out “1000” and “Hi AU”.

    Deliveries of the new Chinese electric SUV will begin in August.

    BYD claims it has taken more than 3000 orders for the Atto 3, which would put it among Australia’s best-selling EVs already.

    To put this 3000 figure into context, Tesla has sold 4657 examples of its Model 3 between January and July 2022, while total electric passenger car and SUV sales in Australia totalled 10,264 vehicles during this period.

    The company had a right-hand drive version of the electric SUV on hand at an event yesterday in Brisbane, giving buyers and prospective buyers alike the chance to check the vehicle out.

    It has had an Atto 3 on hand at its Sydney Experience Centre, however this was a left-hand drive model.

    EVDirect is still in the process of establishing its network of retail locations, which are opening in partnership with Eagers Automotive.

    There will be at least one Experience Centre, as they’re called, in every state and territory bar the Northern Territory.

    Customers will pick up their cars from an Experience Centre location and not a mycar location, as had previously been the plan.

    EVDirect has yet to release details on servicing and warranty for BYD vehicles, though it’s understood servicing will still be performed at mycar locations along with the new Eagers locations.

    The Atto 3 was only recently approved for sale by the Australian Government.

    Distributor EVDirect emailed customers earlier last month that local deliveries of the Atto 3 would be delayed by 6 to 8 weeks, and would begin in August – not July, as had previously been claimed.

    The delay pushed not only deliveries but also the timeline for test drives into August or September.

    It subsequently told customers BYD was prioritising production of the Extended Range model over the base Standard Range, though it noted almost 90 per cent of customers selected the Extended Range.

    If you order a new Atto 3 today, EVDirect says you should take delivery either this December or next January.

    Prices start at $44,990 drive-away depending on your state, with the Extended Range costing $3000 more and bumping range up by 100km to 420km on the WLTP cycle.

    Both variants use BYD’s in-house ‘Blade’ LFP batteries, with base cars packing 50kWh of capacity and extended range models 60kWh.

    The battery powers a 150kW and 310Nm front-wheel drive electric motor, capable of pushing the Atto 3 from zero to 100km/h in a claimed 7.3 seconds.

    There’s a 400V charging architecture, with maximum AC charging capacity of 7kW and DC charging at up to 80kW.

    The company says the Atto 3 is currently undergoing safety testing in Europe by Euro NCAP, which will allow it to get an ANCAP rating.

    BYD vehicles have previously been offered in Australia – you may have taken a previous-generation BYD e6 taxi in Sydney – but the EVDirect-led push of the new Atto 3 small electric SUV is the Chinese brand’s biggest step here yet.

    Beyond the Atto 3, which will battle the likes of the MG ZS EV and Hyundai Kona Electric, EVDirect says two more BYD vehicles will join it shortly.

    The Seal, which may be called something else here, will be BYD’s rival for the Tesla Model 3.

    Australian orders are expected to commence later in 2022, with deliveries beginning in 2023.

    It’s expected to be joined by a new small hatchback based on the Chinese-market Dolphin.

    While not a household name in Australia, BYD is a giant in the ‘new energy vehicle’ space, which as well as cars produces electric buses and even batteries for other companies. Warren Buffett is a major shareholder.

    MORE: BYD’s Tesla Model 3 EV rival set for Australian launch
    MORE: BYD Atto 3 electric SUV approved for sale in Australia
    MORE: BYD distributor announces showroom locations
    MORE: BYD Australia claims thousands of EV orders already
    MORE: Brand overview: BYD

    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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