Close this search box.

Dream weaver – BYD Atto 3 NZ launch and first drive

There’s already been quite a hoorah around the new (to NZ) brand BYD. With its small EV the Atto 3, boasting better battery technology and a wide range of environmentally-friendly vehicles already commanding 30% of the Chinese market and aiming to have models in EVERY market (including vans) within the next 10-years. With big results so far and big goals to follow, BYD NZ invited us to find out more.

BYD stands for Build Your Dreams, and it’s a message that’s emblazoned on the rear of their Atto 3 SUV. To me it all sounded a bit ‘Tony Robbins’ and something better placed on a poster on a windowless office wall or a bumper sticker on a tired 70s nondescript yank sedan – but it would appear that the motivational message comes with substance.

You see, BYD is the brainchild of Wang Chuanfu who went from essentially being an orphan, to becoming a billionaire entrepreneur and creating (amongst other things) an automotive company that boasts 290,000 employees and is on track to build 2 million vehicles per year – so if anyone can claim building dreams possible, I guess Chuanfu can.

BYD Atto 3 review NZ

The NZ launch event was held at BYD’s new ‘showroom’ in Newmarket Auckland, opposite 277 and the weather was abysmal, not dreamy at all. The showroom itself is very non-conventional, with a new york style ‘loft apartment’ theme, complete with exposed brickwork and a minimalist approach to selling cars – which, since they are only offering one vehicle (with just two spec options) right now, seemed rather apt. But notably, Coffee and upmarket bacon butties were on the breakfast menu, cooked and brewed thanks to the Atto 3 itself – I’ll get to more of that in a moment.

As outlined before, the BYD Atto 3 is a small SUV that’s a full BEV, by which I mean is only battery powered. The battery itself is what they call a blade battery which, without going two techy, is both ultra safe and ultra efficient. Developed over several years, the Blade battery is a lithium-ion phosphate (LFP) battery due to its design is stronger, longer lasting, stores more power and offers greater range while delivering a higher level of safety than conventional designs. I seriously urge you to Google the differences between it and what’s commonly found in BEV’s, it’s eye-opening.

In terms of design, the BYD Atto 3 comes with a dragon themed exterior, with sharp lines and a non fire breathing face, large lower vents and a sleek nose with LED lighting. It also boasts an impressively low drag coefficient of just 0.29cd which helps improve its range to 420km (extended model) or 345km (normal).

BYD Atto 3 review NZ

The interior is sporty and by which I mean gym-like. The BYD designers have introduced a whole raft of talking point features, such as dumbbell air vents, a treadmill-style storage box lid, bone shaped door handles and sinew straps across the doors that double as guitar strings – it all sounds odd on paper but really is great when inside. Topping it off is ‘gaming chair’ style front seats that are excellent to sit in.

Armed with all the vehicle information, we were let loose to experience the new SUV, however, rather than having a regular driving route, we were set ‘challenges’ to complete, which included taking a number of pictures to help highlight what the clever EV had on offer – beginning with photographing it beside something Kiwi – for which we headed straight to the airport.

BYD Atto 3 review NZ

Regardless of the nasty weather, the BYD Atto 3 sat nicely on the motorway. Driving comfort is great and visibility is good. Added to this, the new SUV EV comes with a full suite of driver and safety features, including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and blind spot alert, so highway driving was a breeze. The cabin is well laid out and quiet on the road while at the touch of a button, the infotainment screen rotates from landscape to portrait to suit your mode or preference. 

We soon found what we were looking for, a giant Kiwi staring down from above a backpackers, is there anything more Kiwi I ask? Picture in the bag we headed onto our next challenge, fastest charging speed, and therefore Bombay Hills.

BYD Atto 3 review NZ

Our ‘extended’ model came with a 60kWh battery that combined with the electric motor delivers 150kW/310Nm and will happily plug into the 800v hypercharger. Admittedly we hadn’t used too much juice getting to the charging station (still at 77%), but even so, we managed to charge at a rate of 60.7kW.

BYD Atto 3 review NZ

Lucky for us, challenge 3 (charge something using the Atto 3’s V2L – Vehicle to Load system) was able to be fulfilled while we were at the station, we charged up a leaf. Just as our breakfast was created using the Atto 3, a simple adaptor turns the energy demanding EV into a mobile 3.3kW power source so we plugged in a Leaf’s trickle charger and shared the EV joy to an appreciative eldery couple – it’s good to do good things.

BYD Atto 3 review NZ

Last but not least, a pic was required using the BYD Atto 3’s camera and for that, we headed to Rainbow’s end – NZ’s happy place. In truth, the rain did mar the clarity of the new EV’s camera but a good shot was achieved nonetheless.

Missions completed, we headed back to Newmarket and ended our first drive. The BYD Atto 3 is an impressive vehicle, a statement made more so thanks to the like of a 6-year 160,000 warranty and 8-years roadside assistance. Pricing for the Atto 3 starts at $52,990 or $138 per week for the standard range and tops out at $57,990 +ORC for the extended range we drove and both variants are also eligible for the current full EV clean car rebate of $8,625.

We’re looking forward to doing a full review soon, so stay tuned for more.

Share your love

Support our advertisers


Ads from the Googles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *