China EVs: BYD ‘looking up’ to take on Ferrari, Lamborghini with the Yangwang U9 supercar

China EVs: BYD ‘looking up’ to take on Ferrari, Lamborghini with the Yangwang U9 supercar

China EVs: BYD ‘looking up’ to take on Ferrari, Lamborghini with the Yangwang U9 supercar

BYD, the world’s largest electric-vehicle (EV) maker, has started taking orders for the Yangwang U9, pricing the luxury supercar at 1.68 million yuan (US$233,400), as it tries to lure rich Chinese consumers away from high-end foreign carmakers such as Ferrari and Lamborghini.

The U9, which can reach a top speed of 309 kilometres per hour, is expected to be delivered to buyers in the middle of 2024, helping the Shenzhen-based company, better known for making mass-model EVs, to showcase its design and manufacturing heft.

A deposit of 300,000 yuan is required to book an U9, BYD said on Weibo on Sunday evening. BYD’s most expensive model is displayed at some of its showrooms in 36 mainland Chinese cities.

“Yangwang U9 will enable you to taste the excitement when you drive it on racing tracks or on city streets,” BYD said on the microblogging site. “It marks the beginning of a new era when fully electric supercars become a choice [for customers].”

The interior of the BYD Yangwang U9 EV. Photo: Bloomberg

A comparable model like the petrol-powered Ferrari Roma is priced at 2.76 million yuan, while a Lamborghini Huracan sells for 2.54 million yuan, 64 per cent and 51 per cent higher than the U9, respectively.

BYD launched the Yangwang luxury brand, which means “looking up” or “admire” in Mandarin in January 2023, starting with the U8 SUV, with deliveries commencing in November.

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The carmaker handed 1,593 U8 units to consumers in December followed by 1,652 units the next month, according to data compiled by electric-car news site CnEVPost.

“Yangwang carries BYD’s hopes for becoming a global EV powerhouse, using some of the company’s latest technologies to make it attractive to customers,” said Chen Jinzhu, CEO of consultancy Shanghai Mingliang Auto Service. “The U9 is likely to reinforce BYD’s plan to move up the value chain.”

BYD, backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, mainly builds EVs priced under 200,000 yuan, about 30 per cent lower than cars made by Tesla.

The company’s blade lithium iron ­phosphate battery packs have proved popular with Chinese drivers and carmakers. The battery cells are arranged in a manner that increases energy density while enhancing ­resistance to overheating.

In 2023, the company handed 3.02 million pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to customers at home and abroad, an increase of 62.3 per cent from the previous year.

BYD’s crab-walking U8 draws large crowds at Shanghai Auto Show

DiSus is “the first self-developed intelligent body control system launched by a Chinese automobile company” and will serve as a foundation for BYD’s future development of its advanced driver assistance system, founder and chairman Wang Chuanfu said at a launch ceremony last April.

The two-seater U9, packed with a 1,306-horsepower engine and four wheel-side motors, can reach zero to 100km/h in 2.4 seconds. The supercar has a driving range of 465km.

BYD said the performance of Yangwang cars are superior to comparable petrol-powered models fitted with 12-cylinder engines.

The Yangwang U8 SUV is displayed at the Shanghai motor show in April 2023. Photo: Kyodo

U8, the first model under the Yangwang brand, is priced at 1.1 million yuan. Its appearance evokes comparisons with the Range Rover.

Last month, BYD announced it would invest 100 billion yuan in ­developing smart cars, in an apparent effort to challenge Tesla and other mainland rivals such as Nio and Xpeng in the premium EV segment.

On February 18, the carmaker said in an action plan filed with the Hong Kong stock exchange that it would launch a number of premium and luxury models this year.

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