World’s biggest electric carmaker launches in South Africa: BYD ATTO 3 price announced

Published Jun 30, 2023


BYD, or Build your Dreams, has officially landed in South Africa with the launch of a C-Segment SUV called the ATTO 3.

The Chinese carmaker, one of only a handful of companies that exclusively build electric cars, is the world’s biggest seller of EVs and has as its USP “cooling the planet by one degree”.

Their introduction to South Africa sees two variants of the ATTO 3 making their debut, the Standard Range and the Extended Range.

The Standard Range is fitted with a 49.9kWh battery powering a single motor on the front axle. With an output of 150kW and 310Nm it has a claimed range of 345 kilometres and will get to 100km/h in 7.3 seconds with a top speed of 160km/h.

The Extended Ranger has a 60.4kWh battery that produces the same output and performance figures but offers a claimed range of 420 kilometres.

Unique to BYD is their Blade Battery technology that uses lithium-ion phosphate as opposed to lithium-ion batteries that BYD says provides “exceptional performance in extreme temperatures while maintaining maximum safety standards”.

It’s also cheaper to make, provides an increased range and is stronger and safer.

The ATTO 3 can be charged from a normal socket or from a charging station and with an 80kW charger it will take half an hour to get from 10 to 80 percent.

A handy addition is BYD’s VTOL (vehicle-to-load system) with 3.3kW that can be used to power electric household appliances or thanks to loadshedding, things like lights, TVs, wifi and laptops.

The ATTO 3 challenges the GWM Ora and Mini Cooper SE and takes the mantle as one of South Africa’s least expensive EVs, coming in at R768 000 for the Standard Range and R835 000 for the Extended Range.

As we’ve come to expect from Chinese manufacturers the vehicle is loaded with features, without any optional extras. Both iterations come with a five-inch digital instrument cluster, wireless phone charger, eight speaker sound system, push button start, electric tailgate, Auto LED headlights and panoramic sunroof while the heated and electric seats, in keeping with the green theme, are synthetic leather.

The ATTO 3’s party trick, especially for the Tik Tok generation, is the 12.8-inch infotainment system that swivels horizontally or vertically through 90 degrees.

Safety is taken care of with a 360 degree surround-view camera system, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, front and rear parking sensors, Reverse Automatic Braking, Front Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Adaptive Cruise Control.

It’s a decent sized SUV standing 1 615mm tall, 1 875mm wide, 4 455mm long, on a wheelbase of 2 720mm, and with 150mm of ground clearance and it’s shod with 18-inch alloys.

Boot space is listed at 555 litres and 1 338 litres with the rear seats down.

The BYD ATTO 3 comes in Skiing White, Climbing Grey, Hiking Green, Parkour Red, Surfing Blue and a five-year/100 000km maintenance plan is also part of the deal.

IOL Motoring