BYD e6 First Drive Review: Slow, A Little Noisy And Pricey – Really Pricey

BYD e6

AUG 28 2013 BY JAY COLE 6

BYD e6 - Up To 186 Miles Of Range

BYD e6 – Up To 186 Miles Of Range

About 2 months ago, a shipment of about 50 BYD e6 electric vehicles landed in the UK with the promise of entering testing around the country with fleet operators.

The First BYD Electric e6 Crossovers Arrived In Europe And The UK In June

The First BYD Electric e6 Crossovers Arrived In Europe And The UK In June

Now that the cars are making their ways onto British roads, reviews are starting to come in.

However, all is not great for the car that was first promised to Americans in 2010 for around $35,000 before incentives.  As an example of this, Steve Cropley at Autocar has gotten his hand on one, and is not all that impressed with his first spin in the Chinese-made EV.

Before getting into what the car is actually like to drive from Mr. Cropley, we have to mention the price – £47,000, that is equal to over $73,000 USD!  Ouch! 

Moving on.  Lets see what that kind of money can get in the form of an EV from China these days.

The electric crossover is comparative to a Land Rover Freelander in size, and has decent interior proportions, but Mr. Cropley finds the centrally mounted info screen a little complex, while some of the finishes and color choices of the interior may not appeal to UK buyers.

BYD says the e6 is capable of 186 miles, although 140 miles for daily “real world” life is more likely.

BYD e6 Interior

BYD e6 Interior

The BYD e6 has been announced and built in a couple different powertrain configurations, unfortunately this version in the UK has the 119 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque set-up, which the reviewer feels is inadequate for the general public, but appropriate for fleet owners such as taxi companies – such as the use for these first 50 vehicles.

With a weight of 2380kg (5,247 lbs – think Fisker Karma heavy), it should comes as no surprise that the e6 only managed a 0-60 time of about 15 seconds.  The BYD electric utility vehicle also has a top speed of 87 mph…provided of course you have a really long way to go in order to get the speedometer up that high.

The BYD e6 Is Technically A 5 Door Hatch Crossover

The BYD e6 Is Technically A 5 Door Hatch Crossover

As for the driving experience itself:

“Acceleration is leisurely, but the car cruises well, with little wind noise. Sadly, this silence reveals whirrs and buzzes and some odd creaking noises at the extremities of lock that wouldn’t suit UK private buyers.

In fact, to suit a UK environment, the car will need wholesale re-tuning of its power steering and spring and damper rates, which allow far too much pitch and bounce. The steering is quick, but lacks the feel we’re used to.”

BYD says that it is now “polishing” the vehicles for wider sales in the UK, and is engaging consultants to help the brand sell better.  Mr. Cropley feels that the car should really having a starting price of £28,000 when/if it is made available to the general public.  We can’t disagree with him.


Categories: BYD, Test Drives


Leave a Reply

6 Comments on "BYD e6 First Drive Review: Slow, A Little Noisy And Pricey – Really Pricey"

newest oldest most voted

It sounds like Tesla’s model X is going to slaughter this car in that it is made in the US and has a very high safety rating. I would never pay $73,000 for a car made in China.

Reconfirms my impression that despite popular believe that China is on its way to become a leader in the field of EVs they don’t actually have a clue how to do a proper mass produces EV so far.

2.4ton and as expensive as a Model S.
It has been a curious failure. They seemed so keen on EVs in the beginning but it fell a tad short.

I think what is most lacking here is a good understanding of the European and US markets.

One Chinese blogger has stated his battery is lightweight and is large capacity. So if this is so, why is the BYD so heavy?

That said, I do approve the larger range (140-180 miles).

People want big batteries.. You’ll notice Tesla discontinued its smallest battery, not its largest, and it makes one wonder if a huge number of people would purchase a 110 kwh Tesla when and if it was offered (I certainly would).

The battery technology of E6 is far beyond Tesla. Its iron-based battery is completely decomposable in a natural environment while Tesla’s battery is no different from what you use for your cellphone, which actually will cause more environmental damage when disposed versus the gas it saved over its life.

Guess that is why the price of the E6 is higher. However, I heard the same car was sold in US for about half of the price and with a better battery range. So either BDY improved the E6 lately, or the UK price could be due to UK tax and fees.