First Drive - BYD e6
Electric vehicles are picking up in India, especially due to the rising fuel prices. We are seeing quite a lot of electric scooters running on Indian roads and some cars too. While the EVs offer the biggest running cost advantage but still customers are worried about the range and the insufficient charging infrastructure. The vehicle manufactures are currently working on various battery technologies to increase the range and fast charging.
On this background, the Chinese automaker BYD (Build Your Dreams) has entered into the Indian EV passenger car segment by bringing its famous e6 MPV. The company has been in India for a few years now with their electric buses and special purpose vehicles. After testing the waters, the company has taken the logical step of entering the passenger car market, but with a different approach. What is it? BYD will be selling its new e6 in the B2B market, which means the cars will be available only for fleet owners or hotel chains or private companies.
Globally, BYD has been sharpening its sword for 10 years with the development of the next generation of e6. Its development is based on the data and feedback from drivers and passengers around the world. The design is meant to evoke emotions with the dragon face design language prevalently expressed in the front face. Yet in Eastern culture, the dragon is a symbol of happiness and luck and is seen as a guardian angel.
As a pure electric vehicle, there is no need for a traditional grill, giving designers, greater artistic freedom in creating their design. The new e6 is much clearer in the design field - its proportions are that of a traditional MPV, elongated to offer plenty of room. The new e6 is quite the looker - from its slim grille flanked by a pair of sharp headlights to its smooth flowing silhouette with a slightly tapered roofline. The side profile looks clean with minimal design. The blacked-out B and C-pillars, front-door mounted ORVMs, a shoulder line that moves up after the C-pillar makes it feel good. The set of 17-inch alloy wheels feels retrofitted and doesn’t look premium.
The dimensions of the car make you feel like a Toyota Innova and BYD also says the e6 is an MPV but it comes only as a five-seater and offers generous storage space with 580 litres of bootspace. The cabin of the e6 feels roomy and the dashboard is clean with a neat layout. The centre console features a large rotating touchscreen, which replaces several physical buttons and switches and can display important functions in portrait and landscape mode. The Android-based operating system allows you to use applications from the App Store but does not have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
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The e6 also features a dragon heart centre console control panel, which allows the driver to operate the vehicle without taking their eyes off the road, improving safety. Which is further enhanced by a CN 95 air filtration system offering medical grade face mask levels of air purification.
The front seats have six-way manual adjustment and are comfortable, but shorter drivers will find it difficult to view across. All the seats feel premium and well-cushioned. There is ample legroom even for taller passengers but there is not enough thigh support, therefore for long drivers, there might be discomfort. The rear passengers get one AC vent which we felt is not good enough to cool the rear, especially during summer.
The next-generation E6 is built on the BYD E platform. The platform integrates the most important electric components reducing weight, optimizing efficiency, and improving the driving experience. The e6 is built on its legendary predecessor while making improvements in every relevant detail re-imagining the EV of tomorrow. BYD sets a new industry benchmark, and it does so with one of the single greatest innovations of the automotive industry, the blade battery.
The e6 is built on its legendary predecessor while making improvements in every relevant detail re-imagining the EV of tomorrow. BYD sets a new industry benchmark, and it does so with one of the single greatest innovations of the automotive industry, the blade battery.
The blade battery is a new generation cobalt-free LFP battery that sets new benchmarks in safety, reliability, performance and power density. In an EV safety and efficiency are the two main requirements and to address it BYD has developed this blade battery.
For efficiency, the power density of the blade battery allows for a driving range greater than 500 kilometres. A number previously inconceivable for LFP batteries in a passenger vehicle. The blade battery also features superb hot and cold weather performance, allowing the e6 to operate even in the hottest environments. Charging time has also been greatly reduced now requiring just 90 minutes to reach full charge. For safety, BYD has made a wide range of tests on overcharging, short-circuiting, crushing, blending, incineration, and even nail penetration. None of these caused the blade battery to enter an unsafe condition.
The driving experience has been driven by a philosophy of using technology to optimize the experience. The electric motor offers instant torque with a smooth linear throttle response. The transmission is quiet, smooth, single-speed eliminating the need for gear shifts. The chassis has been developed in consideration of various road conditions and usage. The front McPherson struts and rear Multilink suspension, giving the next generation E6 precise control and agility. In electric vehicles, NVH is far more challenging as there is no ambience noise to mask noise, vibration and harshness from the chassis and drivetrain. BYD has worked nicely on the NVH part since the e6 offers a smooth, quiet, and comfortable experience at all speeds.
The braking system on the e6 features Bosch IPB (Integrated Power Brake) with extremely fast response time and smooth linear braking fields. The regenerative brakes on the next generation e6 are capable of harvesting energy from as low as two-kilometre per hour and optimizing efficiency has been paramount in every aspect of the e6 design.
The new e6 is powered by a 71.7kWh battery pack that powers a single electric motor developing 95hp and 180Nm. With all this tech in place, the next generation E6 offers more than 500 kilometres of combined range on the WLTC standards. With the DC 60 kilowatt charging, delivering a full charge in 1.5 hours and AC 40 kilowatt charging delivering a full charge in 2.5 hours. The e6 is also compatible with a 6.6-kilowatt charger which takes 12 hours for a full charge.
Priced at Rs 29.15 lakh for the e6 GL and Rs 29.60 lakh for the e6 GLX trim, BYD focuses more on the TCO by having low running costs of Rs 1.59 per km (claimed) and an impressive real-world range. Also, BYD is not comparing the e6 with Toyota Innova or other MPVs that are available in the market as others are used for even private buyers. With the new e6 featuring the dragon face design, large interior space, safety, reliability, and high efficiency it is set to join the Indian EV car market club.