Chinese new energy vehicle automaker Build Your Dreams, otherwise known as BYD, has officially entered the South African market. It held an event at the Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch in Johannesburg on Thursday, 29 June to introduce itself, alongside its first EV that will go on sale here – the Atto 3 SUV. It is the first EV-only manufacturer in South Africa.

The company says it chose to expand in South Africa due to our growing market demand for cleaner transportation options, and “as one of the largest economies on the African continent with numerous challenges related to air pollution, there is a significant opportunity for electric vehicles like those produced by BYD”.

BYD also announced pricing for the front-wheel drive Atto 3, which comes in two battery sizes:

  • Atto 3 50kWh battery – R768 000
  • Atto 3 60kWh battery – R835 000

The Atto 3 SUV is built on BYD’s e-Platform 3.0, which the company says offers “exceptional performance” in terms of intelligence, efficiency, safety, and aesthetics.

It is the first EV in South Africa to offer a mobile power supply, i.e. it acts like a giant power bank thanks to its vehicle-to-load (V2L) feature that provides 3.3kW per hour power out. Given the load shedding conditions in South Africa, it is suited to power appliances in the home or if you’re out and about on the road, like for camping trips.

The EV is equipped with BYD’s Blade Battery technology that can operate in extreme temperatures while maintaining safety standards. The company says it’s battery design is set to “revolutionise the EV industry by reducing costs associated with manufacturing and increasing range without sacrificing safety”.

Here’s a quick look at the specs for the BYD Atto 3:

BYD will share more information about how to purchase the vehicle. Stay tuned.