Chinese vehicle manufacturers have been making significant strides in capturing global market share by offering competitively priced and enhanced car models. The introduction of BYD’s latest electric vehicle signifies a notable shift in the car market, suggesting that it will undergo lasting changes.

By Dumi Xaba

A little while back, I had the pleasure of conversing with a sage individual about my estimation of the rapidity with which China would outpace conventional car manufacturers in terms of the sheer abundance of their vehicles gracing our roads.

I had this hunch, you know? I was like, “Yeah, it’s going to be like five long years.” But then this guy, he comes out of nowhere and confidently declares, “Nah, it’s going to be like two years, tops.” I mean, seriously?

I couldn’t help but question his so-called predictions, all based on some blind faith in brand loyalty and the latest sales numbers. But hey, I decided to dig deeper and do some extra snooping around. And you know what? I gotta give credit where credit’s due. Turns out, maybe, just maybe, he is onto something!

Two Chinese companies are making headway with their electric vehicles (EVs) in South Africa. They are offering standard features that other car manufacturers typically charge extra for. This could give them an advantage in the market.

GWM is introducing its most affordable electric vehicle in the country to compete with the Mini Cooper EV. With the Mini EV lacking significant trunk space and rear legroom, the Chinese may have a compelling case to win over consumers.

Elon Musk has realised that it is impossible to surpass the Chinese, who have made substantial investments in battery manufacturing and the future production of electric vehicles. Consequently, he is also making significant investments in the Chinese EV markets, establishing his largest EV plant in Shanghai, China.

The Chinese have redefined the boundaries and sent a strong and sobering message to California that Tesla’s era of EV dominance is nearing its conclusion. This has compelled Elon Musk to significantly lower the prices of his Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.

For now, let us go through what we know about the Ora and the Atto 3. Tesla China has recently opened their offices in South Africa, and the electric vehicle battle has just begun on our shores.

BYD Atto 3

BYD is a prominent manufacturer of electric components, specialising in the production of underpinnings for electric buses and trains, primarily for the European markets. One of its employees is Wolfgang Egger, known for designing the Audi Q2 and Alfa 8C.

This vehicle serves as the successor to the BYD Yuan, which was introduced in 2022. BYD has indicated that the name Atto was chosen based on its association with attosecond, the smallest unit of time in physics. This nomenclature is intended to reflect the energetic, dynamic, and speedy nature of the product. According to recent data provided by BYD, they have sold a total of 3.9 million units globally, with 2.35 million units sold within the past year. Their sales objective for 2023 is set at 3 million units.

The BYD Atto3 is a medium-sized crossover. The vehicle is built on the latest BYD electric platform, the e-3.0, which can support front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and rear-wheel drive.

I think this entry into our market is a well-calculated and thought-out gamble. Family crossovers are selling like hotcakes all over the world. The Atto 3 has made a lot of good impressions on European markets, especially with its 480 km range per full charge.

It may not be a head-turner in terms of looks, nor is it as sleek as a BMW i3 that your daughter might request for a drop-off at her friend’s house.

The Atto 3’s vibrant interior is a strong selling point. The leather interior, with its two-tone design, exudes sophistication. While the 12.8-inch infotainment system is impressive, it falls short compared to its rivals. The cockpit measures 5 inches in size. The battery technology is a groundbreaking innovation that competitors should strive to match. Additionally, the battery can be charged from 0 to 80% in just 30 minutes.

This attractive vehicle can go from a complete stop to 100 km/h in under 8 seconds. The Atto 3 has been given a Euro NCAP test rating of 5, making it one of the safest cars on the road.

With a 5-year warranty, it is expected to become a common sight on our roads in the near future. All of this is available for just around R768,000 for a standard electric vehicle and R835,000 for the extended-range version. Some units have already been delivered to our country, and new orders will take approximately three months to fulfil.

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