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    BYD Han EV: The Chinese electric sedan between Tesla Model 3 and Model S

    Aug 30,2022 | Chloe Lacour

    If the BYD brand has been present in France for a few years, it is for its electric buses. The cars are arriving later than expected in Europe. Thus the large Han EV sedan which, with a length putting it in direct competition with the Tesla Model S, should present a price list closer to the Model 3 Performance.

    Confusing first experience
    Could the city of Beauvais, in the Oise, be a land of welcome for builders born on other continents? Since 1960, it has been home to the Massey-Ferguson factory, which assembled its millionth tractor last June.

    A few kilometers away, BYD opened its own electric bus assembly unit on August 27, 2018. However, the 4 candles could not be blown out. Due to order books that were not being filled, the activity was moved to Hungary last year. From this misadventure, we can draw several pieces of information.

    First of all, BYD is the first Chinese manufacturer of electric cars excluding quadricycles (L6e and L7e categories) to have directly approached the French market for connected vehicles. We can also say that he was the first to have tried to invest in Europe via France. Its desire to establish itself has gone so far as to open an electric bus factory in our country.

    By Norway
    If the first BYD electric cars were registered in France in October 2015 ( 2 copies of the e6 ), even before the Airways U5 and MG ZS EV, the real salvo to carry the private electric motorists pass by Norway were already installed by other Chinese manufacturers are Voyah, Nio, Xpeng, and Hongki, to name a few.

    “ It is the most advanced market in Europe when it comes to the widespread adoption and use of electric vehicles. The country also benefits from a complete charging network,” explained Isbrand Ho, managing director of BYD Europe.

    Integral motor skills
    Expected in France before the end of this year 2022, “  this Han EV is reminiscent of a Honda a 4-door coupe ”, believes Maxime Fontanier. For my part, I find him a face quite close to the Kia EV6. It lights up with Full LED lighting.

    With its length of 4.98 m, it exceeds the symbolic centimeter of the Tesla Model S and the cap of 7 cm (1.52 against 1.45 m). The American, however, retains the advantage in width: 1.96 vs 1.91 m.

    All-wheel drive is obtained from two permanent magnet motors which together develop a maximum power of 380 kW (516 hp). Enough to complete the exercise from 0 to 100 km / h in 3.9 seconds. What Maxime Fontanier was able to verify in too quick handling. Note that there is a traction version in China, only driven by its front wheels.

    Blade batteries
    To power its engine, the BYD Han EV has an original LFP (lithium iron phosphate) blade battery. The latter are installed transversely over almost the entire width of the vehicle, without intermediate modules. The benefits of this architecture are numerous: better repairability by being able to individually exchange the blades, greater compactness, lightness, and ease of adaptation by adjusting the number of these bars.

    There is not just that. Just 10 years ago, BYD's image was tarnished by a fire problem at the e6. Any danger seems averted by the adoption of blade LFP batteries which also interest, among others, Porsche and Toyota. These slats withstand being pierced with a nail, brought to a temperature of 300° C, and subjected to very high overloads without thermal runaway or emission of flames.

    The first figures announced for the energy capacity of the pack give way to the exploitable 85.4 kWh announced by Maxime Fontanier. The maximum charging power is surprisingly low compared to the competition: 120 kW. Located at the rear right, the hatch will house a Combo CCS connector for Europe.

    Frame
    The suspensions controlled in two modes (Comfort or Sport) at the heart of the BYD Han EV are based on a rather classic architecture: McPherson at the front, and multi-link at the rear. The connection with the ground is made by four 19-inch wheels fitted with 245/45 tires. The Y patterns of the alloy rims reveal on each side at the front the imposing ventilated disc licked by a Brembo 6-piston caliper.

    In 2020, BYD promised a braking distance reduced to 32.8 meters for an initial speed of 100 km/h, as well as a level of energy recovery to rank among the best in the world. However, “ the brake pedal does not offer an exceptional feeling. She's a little squishy. It lacks a bit of progressiveness in the effort, ”says Maxime Fontanier.

    A plateau is felt “ between regenerative braking and pad braking ”. This does not prevent you from being able to “ brake very hard ”. The ESP can be inhibited in order to indulge in the practice of drifting.

    A bit sparse trunk
    BYD stands for "  Built your Dream ", as we can read fleetingly on the trunk lid during our video journalist's tour around the Han EV. Like the Tesla Model 3, it is a four-door sedan, i.e. without a tailgate.

    With a double bottom sized just to accommodate charging cables and emergency equipment, the trunk offers a strict volume of 410 liters. It is crossed by the bench seat back pierced with a ski hatch. Shorter by 29 cm, the "  small " American sedan offers more at this level: 561 liters, to which is added the frunk that the long Chinese car does not offer under its hood.

    On the other hand, it makes it possible to power a device or, for troubleshooting, another electric vehicle according to the principle of V2L (Vehicle-to-Load) also more explicitly called V2D (Vehicle-to-Device). The maximum power in this case is 3.3 kW.

    Take a seat in the back
    As on the Tesla, access on board the BYD Han EV is done by operating the retractable handles. We immediately discover at the back a presentation that plays with several gourmet colors, from cappuccino to chocolate, through the caramel. We find the explanation for this reduced trunk behind the seat. Thanks to a wheelbase of 2.92 m, the space allocated to the legs is particularly generous.

    If the knees are raised, the long seat tilted backward erases any discomfort. A small service tunnel makes the middle square a little less pleasant.

    The commands available here are impressive. In addition to the small slab to act on the tri-zone air conditioning, a touch screen housed in the central armrest allows you to adjust various settings, including those of the front seat next to the driver. From this device, it is also possible, for example, to activate the heated seats in all four places or to hide the panoramic sunroof.

    A very good manufacturing quality
    Passing to the front of the BYD Han, Maxime Fontanier appreciates: "  It's serious in terms of manufacturing quality  ". He quickly noticed that it is possible to hide the internal surveillance cameras thanks to small sliding covers. “  That's not the case in a Tesla,” he points out.

    The dashboard, with a head-up display, is similar to that which equips the BYD Tang. The central 15.6-inch tablet is dedicated to vehicle settings and the infotainment system can be rotated according to your wishes to adopt portrait or landscape mode. "It's fluid, it's well done," says the specialized journalist.

    Particular care has been taken with the light atmosphere on board on which it is possible to intervene, particularly in terms of intensity and colors. In front of the passenger seated next to the driver, the dashboard is backlit. The upholstered materials, usually with stitching, are placed in strategic areas, ie at the level of the parts in contact with the occupants and those falling under the eyes.

    More than 500 km of autonomy
    "  We have beautiful digital instrumentation  ", judge Maxime Fontanier. He is also seduced by “  the keys on the steering wheel which are well thought out ” with, on the left, those dedicated to driving aids, and, on the contrary, what to intervene on the multimedia system. The drive selector is surrounded by useful shortcuts, to quickly change regen power, drive mode, ventilation, and more.

    From the first laps, the BYD Han EV appears heavy. His weight? Mystery! With the new figures concerning the energy capacity of the battery and the power of the engine, it is difficult to rely on the old information. The man in the cap rates it at 2.4 tons, similar to that of the Tang 7-seater electric SUV.

    This does not prevent the manufacturer from announcing a range of 521 km in the WLTP mixed cycle. That is a consumption of approximately 16.4 kWh/100 km, forgetting the various losses while driving and recharging.

    Prices
    "  The Chinese manufacturer should do like the Koreans Hyundai and Kia, that is to say, offer a price comparable to that of the competition, barely lower, but with a very high level of equipment  ", considers the man to the cap. “  The idea is to have a large Tesla Model S type sedan at the price of a Model 3 Performance,” he illustrates.

    However, he suggests waiting for next October, when BYD will unveil its tariff schedules, to ensure this commercial policy. It is on this date that the long Han EV electric sedan will be officially presented in Paris, on the occasion of the Paris Motor Show.

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