As we continue with the EV revolution we have another 100% EV from EVCA in the skin of the BYD E6 wagon. This one is a less commercial-looking vehicle compared to the BYD T3 minivan which also means it is nicer inside and out. You can enjoy all the beauty shots in the video below or by clicking here.
I love that the design is conservative but elegant. By this I mean it is not trying too hard to show that it is an EV. So no radical lines, over-the-top aero, or an odd-looking noseless front end. I mean the front end is different when looking at the grill. But not breakneck different. It is an elegant and simple design all around.
There are chrome elements everywhere which give it a premium look so sweeping elements on the roofline and the base of the window line. There is also a chrome strip connecting the lights both front and rear. Wheels are 17-inch alloys with disks all around. It looks really good.
The rear lights have some LED elements in them whilst the front also spices things up with some DLRs (Daytime Running Lights) as well as adjustable xenon and halogen headlights.
The rear is also fitted with four proximity sensors for parking assistance and these also work in conjunction with the reverse camera to help with measuring up the car when backing up or reversing into parking spaces.
Ground clearance is average for this class of cars. It’s good enough for most of Zimbabwe’s roads but can struggle in challenging offroad conditions. The BYD T3 might do a better job there.
Looking at paint jobs, the BYD E6 comes in four color options. A pair of single color options which are Doctor Black and Crystal White and a pair of two-tone paint options which are Blue/Black and Green/White.
You get plenty of space in the boot. 580 liters of space to be specific and it comes in a nice squarish opening with a very shallow load lip. This makes loading and unloading luggage very easy.
Underneath the floor is where you find your emergency stuff. Some triangles, tow eye, steel rim spare wheel which is bigger than the space saver you get in Ex-Japanese cars but not as appealing as the 17-inch alloys on the car.
You also get the usual jack and wheel spanner tucked in there too. On the side of practicality, the BYD E6 grabs a lot of points here.
There are only 2 features I felt were missing in the tailgate of the BYD E6. A powered tailgate that opens and closes by itself at the push of a button and a power outlet. Either a 12V socket or a 220V AC socket. Regardless, the fewer fancy bits they add, the less stuff will fail but if you are particular about these conveniences you are out of luck on this one.
Starting with the front which is the highlight, there is a 10.1-inch tablet that takes up the role of being the interface for all the aspects of the car. Information, climate control, entertainment, and vehicle setup are all done through this touch screen tablet.
The graphics are actually really good. It has rich vibrant color and IPS level blacks. The touch response is pretty much as good as you’d get on your phone which is actually great for car infotainment systems.
Some aspects of it can be controlled by the controls on the steering wheel and on the center console but the full functionality is taken advantage of using the touchscreen. It even supports voice commands which we are yet to try out and see how they work. We only had access to the car for a couple of hours.
Some highlight features in the interior of the BYD E6 are leather seats, leather trim on the center console, armrests and parts of the door panel, Faux wood trim on the dashboard, and a generous sprinkle of metal accents on the air vents, steering wheel and round the speaker grills.
Speaking of air vents, the BYD E6 filtration system is CN95 level meaning it offers all the particulate filtration perks of N95 filters and also adds a layer of activated carbon to further handle vapors and odors. Some fresh features there.
The door bins are also quite large and deep and can fit any size water bottle you can dream of…except for 2 liter Mazowe bottles. That’s just overkill. Seat adjustments are alright. Forward-backward and height adjustment. It’s just a shame that all seat adjustments are manual.
There are full-size USB ports, 2 in the front hidden in the center console storage, and another 2 ports for the rear passengers. In the same center console upfront, there is a 12V socket for any other accessories you might need to power like an air pump for the tires.
In the vehicle settings, you can adjust the courtesy lights to your liking. This means when it’s dark you can adjust how long the lights stay on after you have locked the car giving you time to find your way to safety before the lights switch off.
In the back, the legroom is absolutely executive. Even for me at 1.8m in height, I still had about 20cm of knee room whilst sitting in my most comfortable position. It’s very spacious. There is a very small hump in the middle of the floor which again makes it more comfortable for passengers sitting in the middle and you also get some air conditioning for the rear passengers.
Performance and drivetrain
In case it flew past you, The BYD E6 is a 100% electric vehicle meaning it does not burn any fuel for it to produce power. It uses a big battery and an electric motor. The battery size is 71.7KWh and BYD says it is good for an average of 500Km
For an EV this is a really good range. It’s really close to what you could get on a full tank of an equivalent non-electric car of the same size. Charging takes 1hr 30 minutes with the universal DC CCS2 60KW fast charger, 2 hours with the 40KW AC type 2 fast charger, and 12 hours with the 6.6KW charger.
Driving the wheels is a single motor mounted in the front delivering power to the front wheels. It’s rated at 70KW with a torque figure of 180Nm which for my car nerds is available from 1rpm. No rev hunting for the perfect powerband on this one.
Unfortunately, we did not have enough time with the car to test drive it so there are no driving dynamics comments to deliver but if we can use the BYD T3 as a reference then it is a really responsive and grounded car. It also has adjustable regen braking which uses the electric motor to slow down the car rather than the physical brakes. This sort of braking harvests energy from the moving car and returns it to the battery.
In its most aggressive setting the energy regen can allow for one-pedal driving where if you release the accelerator pedal, the car slows down on its own as if you were stepping on the brakes. The more aggressive the regen braking, the more energy that is returned to the batteries. Very smart and also trippy the first time you experience it.
Is it a good deal?
US$58 000 is the starting price for the BYD E6 and here are a couple of reasons that could sway you towards getting it.
- Very spacious and practical
- Cheap to maintain and run (Servicing and fuel)
- Backup available locally (EVCA)
- A great range for an EV
- A good selection of safety features
- Financing options are available
Stuff that might make it a tough sell
- No public charging stations in Zimbabwe yet
- Petrol/diesel cars of the same type can be cheaper to buy
- The rear seats do not fold down
- No heated or cooled seats
- Seat adjustment is manual
The BYD E6 is a very very competent electric vehicle. It’s got a top-tier range enough for a week of school runs and work trips on one charge. Space is available in abundance whether you are in the front, back, or boot. It’s a finely crafted car with good looks outside and good ergonomics inside. And with the most potent charger, getting it filled up is not a soul-sucking chore.
Be that as it may, the E6 and every other EV are being let down by the sheer lack of charging infrastructure. And this inconvenience coupled with Zimbabwe’s erratic power supply makes the US$58 000 seem like it might sway people from it and EVs in general. But if you look at the fact that the fuel bill will be a 10th of the fuel bill of a petrol or diesel car, it will still offer a solid proposal. Also, electricity is paid in RTGS in Zimbabwe so think about it.
As for me. I would get it. It’s the best vehicle you can have for all your local rounds. I just have to find the cash first.
- Car review: the all-electric BYD T3, a minivan that packs a punch
- Petrol vs Diesel vs Hybrid vs Electric. Buying pre-owned cars in Zimbabwe EP1
- EVCA/BYD partners Zuva for public EV charging stations
- Bye-bye ZESA, partial to fully off-grid solar prices in Zimbabwe
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