Video test – BYD Tang EV: this Chinese 7-seater electric SUV arrives in France!

Video test - BYD Tang EV: this Chinese 7-seater electric SUV arrives in France!

After a first attempt that came to an end, the Chinese manufacturer BYD is once again trying to enter the French electric passenger car market. Among the 3 models that will be available soon, this family SUV which positively surprised Maxime Fontanier.

7 seater SUV

Also manufacturer of trucks, buses and traction battery-powered handling equipment, BYD (Build your Dreams) intends to take advantage of the Mondial de l’Automobile to be held in Paris from October 17 to 23 to present a diversified range which will include 3 electric cars .

Maxime Fontanier has already recently taken charge of the luxurious and long Han EV sedan close to a Tesla Model S as well as the Atto 3 compact SUV tailored to compete with Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro EV. He invites us to discover now the Tang EV which fits in a rectangle of 4.87 x 1.95 m, for a height of 1.73 m.

BYD is not the only Chinese manufacturer to offer a machine of this type designed to accommodate up to 7 people on board. Nio and Hongqi, for example, do it with their respective models ES8 (5.02 x 1.96 x 1.76m) and E-HS9 (5.209 x 2.010 x 1.713 m) larger. With a much closer footprint (4.90 x 1.95 m), Voyah Freealso tested recently by our journalist, only offers 5 places.


Integral motor skills

The 2.82m wheelbase for the Tang EV fits amusingly enough, very precisely between those of the Atto 3 (2.72m) and the Han EV (2.92m). The massive look of this family SUV is softened by Full LED headlight units at both ends.

The copy that we were able to discover is based on 22-inch wheels fitted with Continental tires with thin sidewalls (265/40) and low rolling resistance. Very largely perforated, the alloy rims with 5 double branches reveal the ventilated disc + caliper assembly. ” In terms of the brakes, it seems to be quite serious “, estimates from this point of view Maxime Fontanier.

He specifies that the machine does not have an air suspension. It is not further piloted. Full traction is ensured on the Tang EV by 2 permanent magnet motors which develop a combined power of up to 380 kW (516 hp), for 680 Nm of torque. Values ​​already seen with the Han EV sedan. Just like the top speed limited to 180 km/h.


Refill

The 3 cars that will be presented next month in Paris are fitted with bladed LFP (lithium iron phosphate) batteries which have the particularity of offering better energy density, more safety, a gain in weight and easier repairability. With a usable energy capacity of 86.4 kWh, the pack gives the Tang EV a range of 400 km in the WLTP combined cycle.

Cut into the right rear wing, the circular charging hatch houses a Combo CCS connector which will not accept more than a power of 110 kW in direct current. It’s a bit stingy compared to European competition. ” In China they don’t have very fast chargers. They rather have 50 kW. This is something that should evolve over time on European models », Considers Maxime Fontanier.

Nevertheless, 30 minutes would already be enough, according to the manufacturer, to bring the energy level in the Tang EV’s battery back from 30 to 80%. It also carries an 11 kW AC device for domestic charging or connecting to the many 22 kW terminals now installed in public spaces.


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She has a chest

Behind the tailgate which opens and closes electrically, the trunk of the BYD family SUV offers 235, 940 or 1,655 liters by playing on the folding backrests of the second and third bays. No frunky under the bonnet, but a double bottom which receives a compartment designed to store charging cables and standard emergency and safety equipment.

Accommodating 3 rows of seats in a car less than 4.90 m long imposes some concessions. The backs of the 5 seats in the back are not the thickest. The two-tone upholstery – chocolate and caramel – with stitching is however treated with care and offers good comfort. The middle bench seat slides in 2 parts, which facilitates even more access to the rear. Note that the central seat in row 2 should be reserved for occasional use.

On the wheel arches at the stern rest the side armrests with cup holders for the comfort of the 2 rear occupants. Behind the driver and his right neighbour: 2 ventilation nozzles, 2 USB sockets and various storage spaces.

Let’s move forward

Leaving the back seat, Maxime Fontanier judges: “ Frankly, the quality of manufacture, in first impression, it is rather impressive! “. The wide doors at the front encourage you to settle on board. Different materials line the inner doors, including alcantara, topped with a customizable LED light line.

Common to the 3 electric cars tested, this 15.6-inch touch screen can be oriented as desired in landscape or portrait mode. The rotation takes place electrically after pressing a button. Despite an in-house OS, the infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

As reactive as it is fluid, the tablet is also used to intervene on the vehicle settings, as well as to display the navigation system and the views of the reversing camera, including the 360-degree top one. BYD has also mastered ergonomics on the family SUV. This is visible in the digital instrument display, steering wheel controls and shortcut buttons around the drive selector.


Comfort elements

The BYD Tang EV at our disposal is topped with a panoramic roof which brings a beautiful light on board. However, it can be hidden if necessary. Below, the 2 passengers installed in the front now have various storage spaces in a fairly traditional way: in the door panels, in the glove box, and under the central armrest where there are also 3 sockets (USB + 12V). An induction charger and 2 cup holders complete the equipment.

Before setting off on the road, the driver will be able to electrically adjust his seat, including the level of the seat length. His neighbor too. The position of the steering wheel can also be revised in height and depth. It is necessary to press a small button at the level of the drive selector to start rolling. This movement is also to be reproduced on the Han EV and the Atto 3.

A few spins

On BYD’s electric cars, regenerative braking is never very powerful. It can be adjusted according to 2 modes with a button to the left of the drive selector. ” It stays low no matter what “says Maxime Fontanier.

No paddles behind the steering wheel, nor the possibility of immobilizing the vehicle without resorting to the brake pedal. Fans of these 2 systems are therefore likely to be disappointed. Probably less those who will discover electromobility with this car. The responsiveness to acceleration and the hardness of the direction are more configurable in a binary way.

Not the suspension though. On the model at our disposal, the chassis is adjusted according to the standards of comfort specific to China. Firmer, the units deliverable in Europe, and in particular in France before the end of this year 2022, will be adapted for our market. “We feel that it’s a bit firm at low speed, but it’s not uncomfortable or flashy,” assesses the man with the cap.

Subdued feel on braking

The manufacturer figures at 4.6 seconds the time required to bring down the 0 to 100 km / h. By using the Launch Control device available on the 3 BYD models soon to be presented in Paris, the specialized journalist even did better by 0.3 s.

The behavior of the braking system on the Han EV and Atto 3 did not really appeal to him. It’s no better with the Tang EV credited on the 2,500kg scale. He describes : ” It’s heavy, of course, but the weight is felt mainly because the brake pedal does not offer a very good feeling. It is quite sluggish at the start of the race, and after that we have a hard point. There is always a bit of inertia at the start, regardless of the setting, Standard or Sport “.

This does not prevent obtaining in the end a powerful braking, with automatic lighting of the hazard warning lights.


Prices

If we know that the first copies of BYD Han EV, Atto 3 and Tang EV will be delivered in France with the end of the year, we do not yet know by which network they will be distributed. It is also the unknown in terms of prices. ” In Norway, this 7-seater Tang EV is the same price as a Tesla Model Y Performance “, compares Maxime Fontanier.

This allows for a more spacious vehicle, with 7 seats. In terms of dynamism, the Tesla Model Y stay sharper. The Chinese SUV, however, is a very interesting, modern and well-made product, with better ergonomics than at Tesla. It’s a good surprise! “, he concludes, almost impatient to be able to try it according to his usual scenarios.

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