Last Friday, I had the pleasure of meeting with Paul and driving his BYD T3 electric van. BYD has imported only 50 of these and they have sold like hot cakes, and no wonder. The T3 is a great value-for-money fit for purpose last mile delivery vehicle — just don’t try overtaking trucks on the highway with it, maximum speed is 103 km/h.
For roughly AUS$35,000, the T3 compares well with a similar-sized van from its competitors at almost double the price. With a range of 250 km and a capacity of 880 L, it is the perfect ’round-town delivery van. The rear is designed to take an EU-sized pallet. It has a checker plate floor, side sliding doors, and a rear tailgate for easy access.
BYD is testing the Aussie waters with limited imports before the expected big push in the Australian spring with the Yuan Plus, relabeled as an Atto 3. As well as the T3, Paul also has an E6 for driving the grandkiddies around. He really is enjoying being BYD’s #1 customer on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.
Paul has had his van decorated with stick-on signs. He certainly isn’t shy about his love for EVs. The T3 will handle an 800 kg load, but as yet, Paul isn’t sure how much it will affect the range. The van comes standard with mags to satisfy the inner hoon, and the air conditioning is very powerful. A valuable asset in the hot, humid Queensland summers. Charging is simple, almost idiot proof – you plug it in and the vehicle does everything else.
The vehicle-to-load features a 4-pack of sockets attached to a cord that plugs into the charge port — very convenient. No more need to go to a servo (petrol station) to put air in the tires — just plug your compressor into your car. With the multitude of sockets provided you could probably make yourself a coffee while you did it.
Paul took a little while to fall in love with his T3. “After the first week, I wanted to drive it off a cliff,” he confides. “I was used to a Hyundai iMax, 8 seater deluxe – mind you, the Hyundai did cost over AUS$75,000.”
“It had a captain’s chair, much more comfortable, a top speed of 180 km/hour,” he reminisced. I asked him what changed his mind. “The T3 does what the Hyundai did at no cost. I charge off my rooftop solar in the middle of the day. I am saving $200 a week in fuel costs. After 3 and a half years, the T3 will be a free car!” Paul now finds the seats quite comfortable.
My test drive demonstrated that the van was peppy, with a great turning circle and very clear visibility. I tended to oversteer and had to get used to using brakes, as the regen was quite light. The dashboard was very easy to read and clearly showed charging status and energy use.
Halfway through the drive, we came across Darren in his Renault van doing his delivery run and bailed him up for a chat. He is spending over $200 a week for diesel and said that as soon as a bigger version of the T3 comes out, he’d definitely consider it.
I am looking forward to when BYD is going to finish putting a toe in the water and make a big splash in the Australian pool. The T3 is a great value-for-money package with some well-thought-out features that make it eminently fit for purpose.
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