BYD ute detailed: Chinese brand calls out HiLux and Ranger as its game-changing PHEV dual-cab approaches

BYD says it respects, but doesn’t fear, dual-cab stalwarts like the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger as the Chinese brand readies its “best-in-class” ute for launch in Australia.

Speaking to EV Central from the Tokyo Motor Show, EVDirect’s Luke Todd says the new ute’s powertrain, range and a party trick he calls “tradie mode” will elevate it to the top of the field when the plug-in hybrid dual-cab launches.

While we had assumed the ute at launch would be electric, Mr Todd has confirmed the dual-cab will actually feature BYD’s plug-in hybrid technology, with a fully electric version to follow “a year or so later”.

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“It’s called DMI, or Dual Motor Intelligence. And it’s not a hybrid as you know them,” he says.

“For Australia, in my opinion, I’m so happy that we ended up bringing this one first and not the pure electric, which will come probably a year or so later.

“It is the best of both worlds, 100kms range on pure electric, and then switch over to the dual-motor technology. So we’re going to have a vehicle of circa-1000kms, if not more range, but when you’re driving around the city you’ll be fully electric.”

The brand’s U8 luxury SUV – also confirmed for Australia – is also equipped with BYD’s DMI tech, giving us a hint at what to expect. The U8 pairs a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine with four electric motors – one at each wheel – to produce 880kW and 1280Nm.

BYD is yet to confirm specifics of the ute’s powertrain, though it has confirmed it will feature a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine, pointing to smaller power outputs for the dual-cab.

The other obvious benefit of a sizeable on-board battery is the ability to store power, but Mr Todd says his ute will be equipped with a “tradie mode” which allows you to use that energy to power your campsite or worksite.

“We call it ‘tradie mode’ or ‘fishing and camping mode’. You can set the vehicle that if you want to drive 600 kilometres off into the bush, you can set it up that you end up with a full charge when you get there,” Mr Todd says.

“So you’ve got your own generator, and the big picture of driving to a work site and you set it that you keep your full battery capacity.”

All of this makes Mr Todd confident BYD’s first ute will jump to the top of the pile in Australia, despite the quality of its competition.

“(HiLux and Ranger) have been around for a long time. We respect them, but we don’t fear them,” he says.

“Just look at the platforms that are being built (in China). Look at the Seal – this is better technology than anything that’s coming out from any other automotive manufacturer in the world.

“It’s why we’ve got so much confidence in the pick-up. It’s the same thing – it’s a ground-up platform that’s been purposely built, same design team, and then we’ve had the Australian influence as well as some American influence as well because of their desire for pick-ups.

“So that’s why we’re confident for best-in-class.”

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