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Would BYD's large electric SUV work in Australia at this price? Toyota RAV4-sized, Tesla Model Y rivalling EV priced in China with up to 605km of driving range!

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BYDs new larger EV gets a price-tag overseas, but would it work in Australia?
BYDs new larger EV gets a price-tag overseas, but would it work in Australia?

BYD has launched its latest fully electric SUV in China - dubbed the Song Plus - which sits above the Atto 3 in its line-up.

It is actually a deep facelift of a previous model, and like other BYDs is also available as a PHEV, but if it were to come to Australia, expect it to follow the local importer’s EV-only strategy.

The new look mirrors the design language of BYD's more recent offerings, including the Atto 3 SUV, Seal sedan, and Dolphin EV hatch, and size-wise it is slightly larger than mainstream mid-size favourites like the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, and Subaru Forester at 4785mm long, 1890mm wide, and 1660mm tall, placing it in the upper mid-size bracket.

The Song Plus EV arrives in China with two battery sizes, either a 71kWh unit good for a 520km range, or an 87kWh unit good for a 605km driving range, both according to the slightly more lenient Chinese (CLTC) testing regime.

Inside, there’s a slightly more upmarket treatment compared to the likes of the Atto 3 or Dolphin, with extended soft-touch materials, more gloss and chrome finishes for the dash, and a large digital instrument cluster alongside the brand’s signature rotating multimedia unit, which in this case is 15.6-inches across.

Prices overseas are intriguing, with the entry-level 520km range grade starting from the equivalent of $35,000 Australian dollars, however the Atto 3 which arrives in Australia only comes in a high grade, locally starting from $48,011. Extrapolating prices across to the high-grade 72kWh Song Plus model would suggest an Australian start in the mid-$50,000 region if the local importer follows the same strategy as it has with the Atto 3. The long-range version, meanwhile, looks to attract price-tags closer to AUD$60,000.

Upfront of the Song Plus is a large digital instrument cluster alongside the brand’s signature rotating multimedia unit.
Upfront of the Song Plus is a large digital instrument cluster alongside the brand’s signature rotating multimedia unit.

Base versions of the Song Plus score the same motor as the Atto 3, a front-mounted unit producing 150kW/310Nm, however higher-grade versions score an uprated unit producing 160kW/330Nm.

Charging specs are yet to be detailed, but a claimed charging time of 47 minutes for the larger battery option suggests a DC charging speed of 100kW as opposed to the 80kW charging capacity of the smaller Atto 3.

Next for BYD in Australia is the imminent launch of the Dolphin hatchback, with pricing to be announced on the June 22. The Dolphin is roughly Corolla-sized and it seems will come in two battery grades, a price-leading 340km range version with a 70kW/310Nm front motor, or a long-range 427km version with the same 150kW/310Nm motor as the larger Atto 3.

Base versions of the Song Plus score the same motor as the Atto 3.
Base versions of the Song Plus score the same motor as the Atto 3.

Pricing will need to be trim to compete with the incoming MG4 hatch, which was just announced with a keen starting price of $38,990 before on-roads.

Despite fielding just one model so far, BYD is storming up the sales charts in Australia, already ahead of storied players like Renault and closing in on Honda, Volvo, and Lexus.

Should it be able to fill its line-up with the Seal sedan and Song Plus EV (or whatever it may be called for export markets) alongside the Atto 3 small SUV and Dolphin hatch the brand could have a real shot at establishing itself as a mainstream automaker in Australia.

Tom White
Senior Journalist
Despite studying ancient history and law at university, it makes sense Tom ended up writing about cars, as he spent the majority of his waking hours finding ways to drive as many as possible. His fascination with automobiles was also accompanied by an affinity for technology growing up, and he is just as comfortable tinkering with gadgets as he is behind the wheel. His time at CarsGuide has given him a nose for industry news and developments at the forefront of car technology.
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