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Shark attack! BYD's new ute named as it prepares to take a bite out of Australia's diesel dual-cab market

BYD's new ute named (Image: AutoDinamico)

BYD's first ute will almost certainly be named the Shark in Australia, with the brand locking in the global name for its Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger rival.

The name has now appeared on English-language posters ahead of the ute's official unveiling at the Beijing Auto Show on April 25, which follows the brand securing the Shark name in Australia via a trademark application.

The clock is now ticking on the ute's official unveiling, with the brand preparing to pull the covers off the Shark in just a couple of days, but – thanks to a leak – we have already seen the plug-in hybrid ute free of camouflage.

Which is how we know that BYD's first ute will feature a blocky front end with an LED light bar that spans each vertical headlight. Also prominent is the big 'BYD' logo stamped across the grille and the blocky plastics that adorn the front end and each wheel arch.

What we don't know yet is just what will be powering it, though a petrol-powered plug-in hybrid powertrain is confirmed with the Shark to feature BYD's Dual-Motor Intelligence technology.

"It's called DMI, or Dual Motor Intelligence. And it's not a hybrid as you know them," BYD importer Luke Todd has told CarsGuide.

"For Australia, in my opinion, I'm so happy that we ended up bringing this one first and not the pure electric, which will come probably a year or so later.

"It is the best of both worlds – 100kms range on pure electric, and then switch over to the dual-motor technology. So we're going to have a vehicle of circa-1000kms, if not more range, but when you're driving around the city you'll be fully electric."

BYD is yet to confirm specifics of the ute's powertrain, though it has confirmed it will feature a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine.

Another DMI trick is the ability to drive on petrol power alone, allowing you to conserve the battery for when you arrive somewhere remote and off-grid, and use the battery to power your campsite goodies.

"We call it 'tradie mode' or 'fishing and camping mode'. You can set the vehicle that if you want to drive 600 kilometres off into the bush, you can set it up that you end up with a full charge when you get there," Mr Todd says.

"So you've got your own generator, and the big picture of driving to a work site and you set it that you keep your full battery capacity."

Andrew Chesterton
Contributing Journalist
Andrew Chesterton should probably hate cars. From his hail-damaged Camira that looked like it had spent a hard life parked at the end of Tiger Woods' personal driving range, to the Nissan Pulsar Reebok that shook like it was possessed by a particularly mean-spirited demon every time he dared push past 40km/h, his personal car history isn't exactly littered with gold. But that seemingly endless procession of rust-savaged hate machines taught him something even more important; that cars are more than a collection of nuts, bolts and petrol. They're your ticket to freedom, a way to unlock incredible experiences, rolling invitations to incredible adventures. They have soul. And so, somehow, the car bug still bit. And it bit hard. When "Chesto" started his journalism career with News Ltd's Sunday and Daily Telegraph newspapers, he covered just about everything, from business to real estate, courts to crime, before settling into state political reporting at NSW Parliament House. But the automotive world's siren song soon sounded again, and he begged anyone who would listen for the opportunity to write about cars. Eventually they listened, and his career since has seen him filing car news, reviews and features for TopGear, Wheels, Motor and, of course, CarsGuide, as well as many, many others. More than a decade later, and the car bug is yet to relinquish its toothy grip. And if you ask Chesto, he thinks it never will.
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