China's BYD unveils Yangwang U9 to rival Ferrari and Lamborghini

Priced at $233,450, the new car can hit 100kph in 2.36 seconds

BYD's latest EV Yangwang U9 is pitted against luxury options by rivals such as Ferrari and Lamborghini. Bloomberg
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China's BYD, a maker of hybrid and battery electric cars, has unveiled its costliest car yet priced at 1.68 million yuan ($233,450), positioning it as a fully electric supercar to compete directly with gas-guzzling models offered by premium brands such as Ferrari and Lamborghini.

Yangwang U9, which would initially target the Chinese market, comes with two 14-way adjustable seats to offer drivers and passengers a better experience.

It offers a “distinctive aesthetic, characterised by unique proportions, tension and power, reflecting its identity as a pure electric supercar”, BYD said.

Zero to 100kph in 2.3 seconds

Yangwang U9 can hit 100kph in 2.36 seconds and reach a top speed of 309.19kph the company said. The delivery of the vehicle will start in the summer.

The company said the vehicle has been tested in different conditions to make it suitable for different geographical areas.

“After rigorous track testing, the U9 has fine-tuned its thermal management system to better resist high temperatures, resulting in a 100 per cent increase in maximum cooling capacity … [it] is equipped with 12 sets of active and passive aerodynamic packages to enhance heat dissipation efficiency.”

Surpassed Tesla to become biggest EV maker

In the fourth quarter of last year, BYD became the world’s biggest EV seller, surpassing the Elon Musk-owned Tesla. The Shenzhen-based company, which is backed by Warren Buffett, sold 526,409 units in the December quarter while its US rival sold 484,507.

BYD produced more than three million vehicles last year, including both hybrid and battery EVs. It sold 1.6 million battery EVs and about 1.4 million hybrid cars.

It has a reputation for producing affordable EVs but also markets its luxury models under the Yangwang and Fang Cheng Bao brands.

Currently, Yangwang offers one production model – the U8 sports utility vehicle, which is priced at 1.1 million yuan. Its delivery started in November and the company has sold 3,653 units as of last month.

Additional high-end EVs under the Yangwang brand are set to debut later this year in China. They will also include a sedan car that is expected to be priced at around 1 million yuan.

BYD stocks zoom

BYD’s stock, which has dropped more than 28 per cent in the past 12 months, jumped 1.82 per cent on Monday to trade at 186 yuan.

In December, BYD also joined forces with Amazon Web Services, the world’s biggest cloud services provider, to boost its network of connected vehicles and push its global expansion.

The pact is aimed at providing BYD drivers with a more personalised driving and in-car entertainment experience, including voice-activated temperature, music and feature control in different languages.

Founded in 1995 as a rechargeable-battery maker, BYD now deals with cars, rail transit, new energy and electronics, with more than 30 industrial parks in China, the US, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Hungary and India.

Updated: March 05, 2024, 10:34 AM