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Servicing costs for MG ZS-rivalling 2023 BYD Atto 3 electric car changed after customer backlash, but warranty terms remain confusingly complex

The Atto 3 electric SUV is available now to order in Australia.

As a concession to customers that aired their angst about BYD walking back on its promise of a seven-year warranty and announcing high standard servicing costs, the Chinese automaker has revised its scheduled maintenance price list for the Atto 3 electric car.

The BYD Atto 3’s new servicing price structure cleaves $700 off the cost of maintenance over an eight-year lifespan, with the total under the revised pricing model tallying $2390. The first service at three months or 500km of ownership is complimentary, with alternating A and B services spaced 12 months or 20,000km apart thereafter.

And that’s under the standard servicing plan, which averages out to an annual spend of $299 per year for eight years or 160,000kms, whichever occurs first. A light-use plan is also offered, which only applies for a five-year/60,000km term but drops the yearly servicing cost to just $189.

Previously, Atto 3 services were as expensive as $661 for the costliest B service – now, that service costs only $447. Meanwhile, all A services cost $189 no matter which service plan you select.

For those that select the light-use plan, their total costs over five years will now be slightly less than what Kia EV6 owners will pay, with the Korean EV costing $1089 under a five-year servicing plan versus the BYD’s $945 total under the light-use scheme.

However, those hoping BYD would make similar improvements to its warranty and deliver the seven-year, unlimited-kilometre term that importer EV Direct initially promised may be disappointed: the Atto 3’s factory vehicle warranty will remain at six years/150,000km, with eight years/150,000km for the electric powertrain and eight years/160,000km for the battery.

Outside of those warranties, some items are covered by even shorter terms. The charger cable has only a 12-month warranty, with the 12-volt auxiliary battery being covered for one year or 20,000km. The infotainment system, vehicle charge port, USB charge ports, shock absorbers, bushes and wheel bearings are also covered for just three years or 60,000km – with the wheel and shock absorbers being a confusing inclusion, as most owners would reasonably assume that those parts would be covered by the vehicle warranty instead.

Adding another layer to the Atto 3’s complex warranty is the fact that all of its LED lighting equipment, other suspension components (we’d assume everything that isn’t a shock absorber, suspension bushing or wheel bearing), and tyre pressure monitoring system are covered for four years/100,000km. We’re not done yet: cabin air filters, brake pads, wiper blades, tyres and other basic electrical components like incandescent globes, fuses and relays are only covered for six months or 10,000km.

While BYD does at least disclose this information in its terms and conditions, such a complex warranty structure can be confusing to non-technically-minded buyers – especially as it’s so selective, and applies different warranty periods to very closely-related components, such as some suspension parts being covered for three years and others for four.

By contrast, the warranty for something like a Toyota Corolla (or indeed, almost every vehicle from mainstream car brands) is ‘bumper to bumper’, with pretty much everything bar the 12-volt battery getting the same level of warranty coverage.

Will a confusing warranty hold BYD back? At this stage it seems unlikely: the brand has accumulated more than 4000 reservations for its Atto 3 in the run up to its Australian launch, with many prospective buyers keen to get their hands on what will be one of Australia’s cheapest purely electric cars. The range opens for $44,381 before on-road costs for the Atto 3 with a 50.1kWh battery and tops out at $47,381 for the 60.4kWh model, with the former offering a single-charge range of 320km and the latter 420km. Deliveries are slated to commence in October.

Tony O'Kane
Contributing Journalist
Don't let the glasses fool you: Tony is terrible at maths, which is why he didn't get into engineering at uni and instead decided to glue words together for a living.  Words about cars, specifically. After cutting his teeth doing online motoring news and reviews, Tony moved over to Australia's most respected car mag Wheels to cut his teeth into even sharper points in the realm of print journalism.  His mouth may be a dentist's worst nightmare as a result, but with a decade and a half of experience in writing about cars Tony has the knowledge to cut through the specs and spin and deliver you, the reader, the unvarnished truth about the cars you're interested in.
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