Before the end of this year, the BYD pickup truck should go on sale in Australia, Asia, and several other countries not called the United States. BYD seems intent on offering electric (or electrified) cars and trucks in virtually every market segment, so it is no wonder that it has its eye on the pickup truck space, which is growing rapidly in China.
If Americans are fond of pickup trucks, folks in Australia and New Zealand are obsesses with them (although they call them utes). Those utes are not the behemoths Americans prefer but rather slightly smaller vehicles about the size of the Toyota Tacoma or Ford Ranger. In the Antipodes, people don’t want a vehicle you need a step ladder to get into or a little step in the rear bumper to help them get access to stuff in the load bed.
Car News China says, “In China, pickup trucks are rapidly becoming more popular. Lots of manufacturers launch the new products, and BYD isn’t an exception to a rule. On the other hand, the domestic demand in pickup trucks is still quite low, compared to more conventional SUVs and sedans. It means that BYD can possibly count on overseas markets with their new product.”
Based on the photos and videos available, the BYD pickup truck could easily be mistaken for a scaled down Ford F-150. That’s a good thing, since the F-150 has been the best selling pickup truck for more than a half century. Nothing succeeds like success.
The truck itself was designed by a team headed by former BMW designer Wolfgang Egger and it is clear the F-150 was an inspiration to the team. In particular, the headlights mimic the look of the Ford. According to The Electric Viking, development of the BYD pickup truck has taken place over the past year or more in China, with input from Ford and GM engineers who are familiar with pickup truck production. Below is a short video about the truck.
There has been no official announcement by BYD about its pickup truck, but Car News China reports the plug-in hybrid version will debut later this year, with the battery electric version slated for production in 2025. Since no spces are available, we are going to resort to speculation here and say the the truck will come standard with one electric motor driving the rear wheels and that a dual motor, all wheel drive version will be an option. There are reports the plug-in hybrid version will have a turbocharged 1.5 liter engine and 185 horsepower. The dual motor battery model could have as much as 500 horsepower, sources say.
Overall, the BYD pickup is estimated to be 5.3 meters (17.4 feet) long — almost a full meter(3 feet) shorter than a Ford F-150. On the inside is a center touchscreen that can be oriented either horizontally or vertically. An AR-HUD heads up display from Huawei is also included. Car News China also says the pickup truck from BYD will have independent rear suspension — an unusual feature in the world of pickup trucks and an indication that the BYD marketing department is targeting passenger comfort over maximum towing or hauling capacity.
BYD Export Plans
Its fun to speculate where BYD would plan on selling this pickup truck. The answer is, anywhere except the United States. In fact, it could import them to Canada and Mexico where they would probably be welcome. They could even build them in Mexico and export them to the US duty free. Let’s assume for a moment that BYD could sell these little beauties in America for under $40,000. Do you think they would get any takers?
The company may not even need the US market to make this vehicle a success. It should appeal to anyone looking for a pickup truck with a plug anywhere in Central or South America, Africa, the Middle East, or Europe. Let America stew in its ground pounding behemoths (the Tesla Cybertruck is no lightweight at 7000+ pounds). BYD could sell every one of these trucks it can manufacture for years without any US sales.
How long will America be able to resist low priced electric cars (and trucks) from China? If the price is right and Chinese manufacturers continue to offer consumers appealing products like the BYD pickup truck, the correct answer may be “not very long.”
Hat tip to Dan Allard
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