2016 BYD Qin EV300
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.
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BYD’s growing automotive empire includes many cars that play off Toyota designs, but the F6 is not one of them. Rather BYD’s target here is the Honda Accord. The F6 got its start in 2008 and has enjoyed decent success in its native Chinese market. It has even made an appearance in the U.S. at the 2008 North American International Auto Show as a plug-in hybrid concept. While nothing came of the car’s distribution in America, the concept showed proof of BYD’s dedication to advancing its product lineup with technology. While the automaker is still guilty of copying other makers’ designs, BYD is starting to break the trend with its more recent products like the impressive 2015 Qin sedan.
Regardless, the F6 is still a relatively impressive sedan for BYD. It offers a decent amount of features that are not found on many of BYD’s other models. A touchscreen navigation system, leather seating, a sunroof, alloy wheels, LED exterior lighting, projector beam headlights, and a pair of engine and transmission choices bring a lot to the table.
The F6 also boasts a four-star rating on the C-NCAP crash test scale. Front and side airbags come standard and the body structure is properly designed to absorb impacts. Features like ABS and EBD help keep the F6 from crashing in the first place while variable power steering makes turning that much better.
The BYD F6 might not be the newest or the greatest product from the Chinese automaker, but it doesn’t skimp on all the expected equipment.
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BYD is budding as an automaker and its products are continually getting better. Take for example, the new Qin hybrid. Other vehicles the automaker produces are still stuck in the budget bottom basement and the F3 is a prime example. The F3 is produced side by side with its replacement, lovingly called the 2014 New F3. While neither car can match the Qin’s impressive looks, interior comforts, or technological advancements, the two cars offer a value to customers with limited budgets.
At first glance, the F3 might look familiar. That’s because it’s a near carbon copy of the ninth-generation Toyota Corolla, produced from 2000 to 2006. BYD gets the copy so perfect, in fact, that the body panels are interchangeable. Toyota likely isn’t amused.
Regardless, the F3 offers inexpensive transportation for five with a decent trunk and a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard and a six-speed dual clutch gearbox comes optional. A look at the F3’s website reveals standard features like power mirrors, body-color trim pieces, adjustable front seats, power windows, and a intermittent windshield wipers. It’s apparent the F3 isn’t marketed towards the U.S. or European markets.
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The BYD G3 was first introduced in 2009 as a more luxurious option to the F3 on which it’s based. Marketed to China’s growing market of wealthy car buyers who favor lengthened cars, the G3 comes on a stretched F3 platform, adding an additional 2.8 inches in overall length and 0.4 inches in wheelbase. The car is also fitted with more standard equipment and luxurious amenities than the F3, including more powerful engine options, a dual-mode sunroof, leather seating surfaces, and an in-dash infotainment system.
The extra room in the rear seats offers Chinese owners with chauffeurs the ability to stretch out while headed to work. On the weekends, owners are treated to a more upscale dashboard with cobalt-light gauges with twin LCD screens showing vehicle information. A manual transmission comes standard, but a CVT is offered with the largest of the three engines.
As BYD expected, sales of the G3 are below that of BYD’s other products. When introduced for the 2010 model year, the G3 only sold 12,000 units within the first six months. That’s less than one tenth the combined number of F3 and F3R sales during that same time. Regardless, the G3 still remains competitive in the market.
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BYD is a growing brand in China these days with its products growing in comfort, technical innovation, and originality. The New F3, however, isn’t one of those products. While it is the latest version of the sedan, it still harks back to BYD’s old habits of copying another automaker’s designs. In this case, it is Toyota. The Corolla-like car shares many similar features, but has seen some differentiation since the adoption of “New” in its title. As the old saying goes, the sincerest form of flattery is imitation — meaning the New F3 isn’t a bad car, thanks mostly to the Corolla.
The New F3 offers the Chinese and other foreign markets a vehicle for basic transportation. Room for five and a decent sized trunk are present. So is a dual-clutch transmission. Now before you start thinking about a DSG or PDK, this gearbox is tailored more for fuel economy rather than lightning-fast shifts. That becomes even more apparent when considering what the transmission is mounted to; the 1.5-liter four-cylinder produces a scant 107 horsepower and 106 pound-feet of torque. The 60-mph sprint comes in 12 seconds with a top speed of 105 mph.
Sure, it’s not a performance car, but the payoff is 44 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in the city. As a whole, the New F3 seems very focused for shorter, in-town jaunts than long highway cruising. And that’s just fine as most of its sales region is concentrated urban areas.
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The BYD New F3R is the Chinese automaker’s answer for those needing a five-door hatchback with more car-like characteristics. Fitting into the compact class, the New F3R offers tidy exterior dimension for city dwellers while still offering a decent amount of room inside.
While BYD offers some rather surprising technology in a few of its cars, the New F3R is left out in the cold. A push-button start, a power sunroof, dual front occupant airbags, brakes that include ABS and electronic brake distribution, and an alarm system seem to be the only real features. Of course, that leaves room for a budget-friendly price tag at the end of the day.
BYD does offer the New F3R with its standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional CVT. Both transmissions are bolted to the same 1.5-liter four-cylinder. Those equipped with the CVT do get 14 extra horsepower, totaling 120. The manual-equipped cars make do with 106 horses.
Though BYD is pushing to enter the U.S. market, it’s unlikely the New F3R will make the jump. Crash test and emissions standards, along with a dull design, are its limiting factors. Now that’s not to say BYD couldn’t heavily revise the New F3R to become sellable in the U.S., but all the needed changes would basically constitute an all new vehicle.
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Hitting the market in 2012, the F5 Suri has made quite a splash in the Chinese car market. Google BYD’s F5 Suri sedan and you’ll notice most headlines include something about the sedan earning a five-start safety rating in China’s nationwide C-NCAP testing standards. The car was even crowned “The Safest Car in China,” surpassing even contenders from Ford and Volkswagen. The car even holds the title of the world’s only remote-controllable sedan.
Wait, remote controllable? Yep. The BYD F5 Suri was the first of BYD’s products to come with a remote control that operated the car from up to 10 meters ( 30 feet) away for tight parking and other similar situations. While it might not be the cell phone controller James Bond used on his BMW 7 Series in Tomorrow Never Dies, the F5 Suri’s four-directional remote allows the outside driver to turn the wheels and move the car forward and back at very low speeds.
The F5 Suri isn’t all party tricks, though. It comes with a host of standard equipment found in all modern global sedans. A turbocharged engine with direct injection is mated to a dual clutch transmission, eight airbags envelope the cabin, a myriad of electronic safety systems keep the car on the road, and a host of driver centric technology makes F5 feel more premium.
Though BYD’s long-term plans include shipping globally, including the U.S., things aren’t quite to that point yet. Passing the U.S. safety tests and emissions regulations are only the first hurdle.
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The BYD S6 was first introduced in 2010 at the Guangzhou Auto Show in China before hitting the Chinese market in 2011. The SUV enjoyed great sales success thanks to its popular design, interior features, and five-star C-NCAP crash-test rankings. Features like its TFT gauge cluster, onboard digital TV, smart key, and remote control made it a standout among the competition.
While the S6’s design might not be the most beautiful in the world, it offers many the perks Chinese SUV buyers are looking for. Its familiar Mitsubishi-sourced engines give buyers a choice of three powerplants and three transmissions. Seating for five comes standard and the rear seats fold down, making room for more cargo.
While BYD has been trying to launch its brand in the U.S., word is still out on when, or if, a launch will occur. If it does manage to bring vehicles to the U.S., look for the company to bring an updated version of the S6 to market.
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The “New F7” might not be the most creative name for BYD’s latest sedan, but the Chinese car rolls out with an impressive laundry list of technology features not normally found on budget-friendly family haulers. The New F7 is BYD’s new take on the original F7, which itself was an impressive car. It sported a dual-clutch transmission, a smart key system that provided car location details, a voice-controlled sound system, and a decent in-dash infotainment system.
Now the New F7 (literal in its nomenclature, for now) is packed with adaptive xenon headlights, a heads-up display, a 10.2-inch LCD touchscreen in the dash, a 12.1-inch LCD screen for the gauge cluster, 12 airbags, a 500 GB removable in-dash hard drive, a panoramic-view camera system, a smart-key embedded in a wrist watch, and a literal remote controller for parking from a distance.
For several years now, BYD has been trying to break into the North American market and it seems the automaker is closer than ever. Whether that will happen within the next few model years has yet to be determined, but with technology-laden cars like the New F7, it might be easier than ever.
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