India's First All-Electric MPV
India has always been a country that has loved getting the ‘extra’. In automobiles, the extra mileage, extra space, etc. In order to accommodate their needs and finances. And with the transition towards an electric vehicle-based travel system in the process, Chinese Automaker BYD has entered the Indian markets to bring about a car that disrupts the sector! BYD stands for ‘Build Your Dreams’, and it hasn’t been common to India, however, they have a large market share globally when it comes to technology, electric vehicles or other electronics. They extended their arm in India by adding an office in New Delhi in 2007 and have invested around $150 million in the country already to provide for electric buses which have been put on the roads for quite some time, however, with the growth of demand in electric vehicles rising higher, there was a need to bring about an all-electric MPV which could give a higher range as well, this need was addressed by BYD in India as they launched India’s first electric MPV, the BYD E6 electric.
Is BYD E6 a 7-seater?
BYD E6 is a 5-Seater car. On the outside, the BYD E6 electric matches all the attributes of a traditional MPV, with the simple styling, and a neat silhouette, although BYD has made sure the car doesn’t lose its charm by following its ‘dragon face’ design language, and having sharp LED tail lamps with LED daytime running lights as well, the big front grille has been replaced with unique hexagonal cutouts and the 17-inch dual five-spoke alloys add more to the car’s road presence. Overall, the design of the car is minimalistic and yet it’s good enough to make heads turn out on the roads.
Inside the cabin of the BYD E6 electric is what holds among the most interesting aspects of this MPV, as instantly the driver is greeted by the flamboyant 10.1-inch touch screen display, also making the dashboard as button free as possible with the only buttons being present on the centre console for the selection of its various drive modes. With onboard WiFi, the infotainment system can also house android apps such as Gaana or navigation and comes with the unique ability to rotate itself 90 degrees so the driver can choose which view suits them the best. The car also comes loaded with features such as a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), six-way driver seat adjustments, keyless entry, rear parking camera and a CN95 medical-grade air filtration system for a cleaner environment on the inside.
Seat cushioning could have been improved as well as the quality of plastics that have been used on the inside, and the glossy materials for the dashboard are more prone to scratches and fingerprints too. The car lacks rear AC vents and the centre rear armrest being missing further makes the cars comfort factor go down a notch. It does have a massive 580 litres boot space which is fair enough to house sufficient luggage for a family vacation with the BYD E6 electric.
What is the Range of BYD E6?
The BYD E6 electric’s claim to fame has certainly been its battery. As they’re developing the battery in-house on the Blade battery technology, they claim it is the safest battery on offer as it has passed every internal safety test, including the crush test, extreme heat test and the blend test showing no signs of damage under any situation and along with that, the car gives a range of 520kms in the city and 415kms on the highway which is the highest among electric vehicles present in the market. The battery set on the E6 is a 71.7 kWh battery pack powering a single electric motor producing 95hp and 180 nm of torque. In terms of charging the E6, it is compatible with a 60 kW DC fast charger getting the battery ready to go at full charge in just 90 mins or a 40 kW AC charger to fully charge the car in around 2 hours. On normal charging, though, the car takes around 12 hours to reach its full charge state. Overall, the battery can be BYD E6 electric’s main USP.
Is BYD E6 Good?
Driving the BYD E6 electric is certainly a pleasing experience, right from when the start button is used it lights up the instrument cluster and starts in an utmost silent way, with absolutely no noise from the engine. The suspension of the car is well set to absorb the majority of bumps on the road thus providing a comfortable experience at the rear. The engine is punchy and produces the right amount of power at every use of the accelerator aided by its drive modes; Eco and Snow. The snow mode is specially built for slippery road conditions. It also comes equipped with an electronic speed limiter at 130 kph to ensure safer driving situations, that apart, the EV cruises comfortably even in triple digits bringing in a pleasant driving experience.
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BYD E6 in India
India has always been a large market for MPVs and now that it gets an electric version, the demand for this vehicle is unquestionably high. However, the main catch in the BYD E6 electric sales is the criteria that it’s only available to people with a commercial drivers licence, or basically their looking for sales in the B2B segment only. BYD aims to sell their car only to commercial fleet operators, so as to aid in the reduction of rising carbon emissions from this segment. The commercial industry is undoubtedly a vast one, with tourists, aggregator cabs, airport transfers having the need for a vehicle with good luggage carrying capacity however, as the BYD E6 electric price in India is starting at 29.15 Lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi) whilst being a new brand for the country, its potential to clock a high number of sales can certainly be in doubt.
Also worth noting is that BYD does not have a well-developed network of service centres across the country, and charging the vehicle can be a hassle for longer travel destinations because India’s charging infrastructure is still underdeveloped. As a result, the car’s sales are shrouded in uncertainty. BYD has collaborated with the Landmark group in India for their sales. Landmark has around 113 showrooms across the country from where they shall showcase and sell the BYD E6 electric. Also, on a positive note, BYD along with Momenta (an autonomous driving startup) has raised 100 million yuan (around 15.7 million USD) in a 60:40 ratio to bring a self-drive feature into BYD automobiles. How soon this feature will be incorporated and when it arrives in India is yet to be seen, however, BYD does have the right potential to make a mark in the markets!
In our opinion, striding towards a future where vehicles are completely independent of fossil fuels is a must for conserving the environment, and in that scenario, a car with such great potential, especially in the commercial industry is certainly a welcome addition. Yes, the sales for BYD E6 electric can certainly be bolstered by adding regular consumers on their customer list as well, to market their car more widely. That being said, the BYD E6 electric is a highly efficient automobile. It comes with the largest driving range among EVs, great storage space and practicality, all the essential features needed and excellent driving abilities thus making this the car to watch out for in the commercial section. Do let us know your views about this new entrant in the market in the comment section below!