A strong showing from the biggest electric car producer you’ve never heard of

On March 31st, 2016, stateside EV lovers were consumed with the release of the Tesla Model 3. But if you happened to be on the other side of the Pacific that day, Elon Musk would have taken a backseat to BYD and the Qin EV300. Founded in 2003, BYD (which stands for “Build Your Dreams”) sold 60,000 BEVs and PHEVs last year, making it the world’s top-seller of highway legal light-duty plug-in electric vehicles. The EV300 is the new all-electric variant of BYD’s hugely popular Qin plug-in hybrid, and like the Model 3, it hopes to offer long-range, emissions-free transportation, a good deal of technology, and a price tag that’s relatively affordable.

Named after China’s first empire, the Qin debuted in concept form at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show. Billed as a replacement for the F3DM, the Qin was basically a Su Rui sedan outfitted with its predecessor’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain. The model was enormously successful in China, garnering enough sales to rank it as one of the best-selling PHEVs in the world, and now, the EV300 looks to expand the lineup with a greater price range and all-electric motivation.

Large governmental incentives and rampant air pollution make the electric vehicle an obvious choice in China, but BYD hopes the EV300 will catch on internationally as well. The biggest challenge will undoubtedly be entrance into the U.S. market, although the automaker is already well on its way to meeting that goal, having set up a headquarters in California – home turf for makes like Tesla.

If it does come stateside, the Qin EV300 will most likely get a name change, but the hard bits underneath should be a carryover. There’s currently no set timetable for a BYD release in the U.S., but if (or rather, when) it does happen, what should we expect? Read on to find out.

Continue reading to learn more about the BYD Qin EV300.

  • 2016 BYD Qin EV300
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    215
  • Torque @ RPM:
    229
  • 0-60 time:
    7.9 sec.
  • Price:
    40100 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 BYD Qin EV300
- image 671675

Stylistically, the Qin EV300 is pretty much the same as its hybrid equivalent. The lines are quite simple front to back, following the standard four-door commuter look you’d get in a 10-year-old Toyota or Honda, although the details in the front and rear fascia manage to save it from overt monotony.

The nose gets nicely shaped headlights, which are accented with daytime running lights fashioned like inverted checkmarks.

The nose gets nicely shaped headlights, which are accented with daytime running lights fashioned like inverted checkmarks. The DRLs point downwards into a prominent black grille, divided into two sections. The upper portion is topped by a small hatch, which pops open to reveal the charger access point, while the lower portion is flanked by fog lights and corner lights.

Not much is seen on the flanks, save for a little window garnish and welcoming lights under the side-view mirrors. The wheels are interesting though, with well-proportioned sizing and a seven-spoke, blade-like design.

In the rear, the trunk lid gets a nice crease, which hangs off the trailing edge to add a little visual meatiness to the tail. The taillights wrap around the rear quarter panels, and come connected by a single strip lining the lower half of the trunk.

While it probably won’t win any awards, the Qin EV300’s exterior styling is certainly in line with the vast majority of efficiency-oriented sedans already on the road, and if it weren’t for the badges, the casual observer might not recognize it as a Chinese product.

Interior

2016 BYD Qin EV300
- image 671674

Stepping inside the EV300, things begin to look a little more upscale. There’s a pleasant two-tone upholstery scheme, with colored inserts for the door panels and seats, plus contrast stitching used throughout. High-quality materials are evident, with polished-metal garnish and chromed details in the door panels and central console.

The overall design is interesting, albeit a bit dated. The steering wheel is brimming with buttons and switches, while a nicely sized control screen tops the slim center console. The instrumentation behind the steering wheel is completely digital, and includes neat features like a power output meter, while odds and ends find a home in various nooks and crannies in the central tunnel, around the seats, and in the doors.

The EV300 comes equipped with a good selection of technology to make the cabin space a more pleasant place to sit

The EV300 comes equipped with a good selection of technology to make the cabin space a more pleasant place to sit. First up is BYD’s “Insta-Pure Technology,” which helps to filter out incoming particulates and pollutants – particularly useful in places like Beijing (or Los Angeles, for that matter). The seats are heated and ventilated, and there’s an electric parking brake. You can also pre-set the electronic controls for the seating position, side-view mirror angle, and steering wheel position. The rearview mirror gets a small display screen in the right-hand corner for stuff like a compass, while around-view cameras and a backup camera help you maneuver in tight spaces. There will also be navigation and voice recognition features.

There will be four different trim levels to choose from. While BYD has yet to release specifics, there will presumably be different equipment available for each.

When it comes to practicality, the EV300’s battery pack is placed lower than the hybrid’s, which means there’s now more space available in the trunk.

Drivetrain

2016 BYD Qin EV300
- image 671673

During the development of the EV300, BYD found range anxiety to be a “major factor” among buyers. To address the issue, the all-electric Qin gets a solid 300 km (186 miles) per charge, although BYD claims one customer got nearly 350 km (217 miles) during testing.

Properly applied, a sprint from standstill to 62 mph takes 7.9 seconds.

Making the go is a single, high-efficiency permanent magnet synchronous motor mounted to the front axle. Juiced by a 48-kWh battery, maximum output is rated at 160 kW (215 horsepower) and 310 Nm (229 pound-feet) or torque. Properly applied, a sprint from standstill to 62 mph takes 7.9 seconds. Both 220-volt and 380-volt quick charging is available, although BYD did not specify the time required to get back to full.

Regenerative braking helps to keep the battery pack primed, while drivers will get to choose between eco, normal, and sport driving modes via buttons located on the central tunnel. There’s also a function called VtoL, wherein outside appliances can use the car as a source of electricity, including “cookers, refrigerators, power tools and many others.” This is particularly handy in a blackout, or if you feel the need for an impromptu grill off/rock concert.

Prices

As previously mentioned, the BYD Qin EV300 will come available in four different trim levels, with pricing starting at 259,800 Yuan ($40,103 at current exchange rates, 04/05/2016), and ranging up to 309,800 Yuan ($47,821 at current exchange rates, 04/05/2016). Even by EV standards, that’s a significant chunk of change, although there will be a nice variety of governmental incentives that’ll help cut into the final asking price.

Look for the car’s official debut at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show.

Competition

Tesla Model 3

2018 Tesla Model 3 High Resolution Exterior
- image 671323

If BYD hopes to compete at an international level, it’s gonna have a whopper of a challenge with the new Model 3. Not only does the Tesla offer higher range, better looks, and quicker performance, it’s cheaper too (although governmental incentives and import taxes will most likely even the two out in China). The bigger issue, however, is getting a Model 3 at all, as the waiting list is currently far beyond Tesla’s production capacity and still growing.

Read the full review here.

Nissan Leaf

2016 Nissan Leaf High Resolution Exterior
- image 645345

Once the clear-cut winner when it came to all-electric passenger vehicles, the Leaf is under heavy fire on all fronts these days. To keep it fresh, Nissan recently added more miles with a new battery, as well as a few tweaks to the interior equipment. While nowhere near the Qin EV300’s 186-mile range, the Leaf is still a valid contender in this space, and worth a look no matter the market.

Read the full review here.

Conclusion

2016 BYD Qin EV300
- image 671677

Coinciding with the release of the Qin EV300, BYD says its planning a total EV “ecosystem,” combining commerce incentives, expanded charge point locations, on-demand transportation options, and web information services into one cohesive package.

Clearly, BYD has big plans for its plug-in lineup, and with the backing provided by strong domestic sales numbers, the automaker looks poised to flex its muscle on a global scale.

Does that mean a BYD dealership is coming to an auto park near you? Perhaps. For now, though, the Qin EV300 is a good indicator of what we might see on U.S. streets in just a few years’ time.

  • Leave it
    • Huge competition
    • Might be a little too expensive
    • A tough sell for U.S. consumers

Press Release

On March 31, 2016, BYD Company Ltd. launched two new Pure Electric Sedans to boost its already broad range of EVs, and provide consumers with even more options to suit their needs: the Qin EV300, coming in four versions with prices ranging from 259,800 to 309,800 Chinese Yuan; and the e5, coming in three versions with prices ranging from 229,800 to 249,800 Chinese Yuan. The company based the recent rollouts on a thorough assessment of what EV potential users value the most, and after finding out that range anxiety is still a major factor in purchase decisions, it provided both models with a 300km driving range, although a potential customer, upon testing the Qin EV300, managed to drive 349.5 km on a single charge.

2016 BYD Qin EV300
- image 671674

The Qin EV300 is equipped with BYD’s high-efficiency, high-speed permanent magnet synchronous motor, with a maximum power of 160kW and maximum torque of 310Nm, accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds, and features re-generative braking system. The model also features BYD’s signature Insta-Pure Technology, a function that purifies the air in the interior of the vehicle by quickly lowering PM2.5 values. Both the Qin EV300 and the e5 are equipped with another of BYD’s signature features: the VtoL function, in which the vehicle serves as a massive mobile electricity supply to power appliances like cookers, refrigerators, power tools and many others, so that users can rely on the vehicle to plan outdoor activities that depend on electricity, or in case of emergencies like power cuts or blackouts.

Another interesting addition BYD is coming up with to offer EV users a new and exciting experience is to combine journey, charging, transportation and Internet fields together by establishing partnerships with industrial players and create an EV “ecosystem”. Such partnerships include Chinese e-commerce giant JD; charging terminal company Huashang Sanyou; Didi, China’s Uber counterpart; and Diandong.com, a top quality web platform for consumers to know about EVF trends, new technologies and policies, and help them to find their most suitable EV.

2016 BYD Qin EV300
- image 671675

The Qin EV300 and e5 have come to consolidate BYD’s position as the world leader in EV manufacture and sales. Furthermore, their addition to the company’s already broad EV lineup goes a step further in the company’s ambitious electrified transportation strategies to mitigate the toll that deteriorating air condition is exacting on human’shealth.

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