It's coming for the Model S.
Chinese automakers are notorious for building copycat cars that look just like the real thing but deliver underwhelming performance and quality. EV manufacturer BYD is putting a stop to that stereotype by offering what they hope to be world-class cars.
We've covered stories about BYD cars that supposedly rival the Tesla Roadster, and we've even seen a 505 hp performance SUV concept that looks really good, but what does this automaker's new range of cars offer that we can't already get her on home soil? BYD has announced the launch of its Han EV line that is set to compete in the global mid-to-large luxury sedan market consisting of three pure electric models and one hybrid model.
The Han EV will be sold in China first, with its extended-range version retailing at approximately $32,800, which is right in Tesla Model 3 territory, while the premium model will go for a slightly higher $36,500. There's also a high-performance four-wheel-drive option that will sell in the $40k range.
According to BYD, the flagship Han EV, in pure-electric long-range guise, will have an impressive range of 376 miles thanks to its "ultra-safe Blade Battery" technology. This is based on the NEDC test cycle. The AWD performance model will offer a zero to sixty sprint time of only 3.9 seconds, giving it the title of China's fastest EV, and the plugin hybrid will do the same sprint in 4.7 seconds.
As with most Chinese marketing campaigns, BYD president Mr. Wang Chuanfu thinks the new Han EV is the best thing since sliced bread: "The Han has taken ten years from the concept stage to formal mass production," which he likened to "ten years of sharpening a brilliant sword." He added, "Through our leading technologies, we have created three benchmarks for flagship EVs in terms of safety, performance, and luxury."
The Han EV will feature a "seven-dimensional quad-layer" safety matrix battery system that, according to BYD, will offer twice the safety when compared to traditional lithium battery packs. Its 1500HS thermoformed steel is the most ever used in any Chinese EV vehicle. The motors behind the Han EV feature a world-first MOSFET motor control module that allows for strong acceleration, and safety systems include an adaptive stop-and-go cruise-control system, a forward-collision warning system, pedestrian identification, and lane departure warning.
The Han EV is a good looker and features "the best of Eastern and Western design aesthetics." We dig its dragon Claw taillights and sharp front grille. The interior features solid wood panels, Napa leather, and aluminum trim; all very contemporary. If this is the standard being set by Chinese manufacturers, then Tesla should start looking over its shoulder.