Coming in early 2024! Why BYD is going petrol plug-in with its new Toyota RAV4 Hybrid fighter

BYD has confirmed its next entrant into the Australian market will be a plug-in hybrid wagon arriving in early 2024 that will enter the huge and lucrative SUV segment to take on the likes of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

At this stage, BYD Australia is yet to confirm if its first local petrol-fuelled model will be joined by a pure electric version as well.

The name of the new vehicle also remains unclarified at this point.

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In China, it is known as the Song Plus DM-i, the DM-i being a reference to its PHEV powertrain and standing for dual motor-intelligent.

But some reports also call it the Song Plus Champion Edition or the Song Plus Pro. Confusingly, an older, smaller car is also known as the Song Plus in some international markets.

2024 BYD Song Plus DM-i.
2024 BYD Song Plus DM-i.

In Europe, where it launched only as a battery electric vehicle in September, it has been named the Seal U.

BYD is set to quickly expand its petrol-electric DM-i offerings in Australia beyond the 2024 SUV with the launch of a dual cab ute in late 2024, followed by an electric version in 2025. The DM-i Yangwang U8 luxury SUV is also pencilled in for late 2025 .

“What I can say is that we are launching a DM-i technology – the same as per the ute – large SUV next year, probably quarter two at the latest. We are targeting quarter one,” said local BYD importer Luke Todd..

“What we haven’t confirmed is the naming of it at the moment

“I can’t guarantee it’s a Seal U but it might be. It won’t be the full electric version, it will be DM-i.”

Todd expressed typical confidence BYD’s move from pure electric to PHEV in Australia would be greeted positively by buyers.

BYD Seal U
BYD Seal U EV.

“We have a very exciting vehicle that is launching before the ute which we think will be very, very attractive for people that want to switch across to electric … but they don’t have any compromise about range anxiety or any concerns like that,” he said.

In Chinese specification the Song Plus DM-i is priced from the equivalent of $33,800 to $40,200.

It comes with a 1.5-litre petrol engine that makes 81kW/135Nm and a single e-motor producing 145kW/325Nm.

There are 18.3kWh and 26.6kWh Blade battery choices for a claimed NEDC range of 110km and 150km respectively. WLTC range claims are a less impressive 85km and 116km.

The 18.3kWh version claims an NEDC fuel consumption rate of 5.3L/100km, while the 26.6kWh inches up to 5.4L/100km. Using WLTC, those claims drop to 4.5L/100km and 4.6L/100km.

Both vehicles claim an 8.3 sec 0-100km time. Drive modes include EV, hybrid, sport, eco and normal.

The Song Plus DM-i measures up at 4775mm x 1890mm wide x 1670mm high. It has a 2765mm wheelbase, 11.1m turning circle, a 60 litre fuel tank and 235/50 R19 rubber.

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