Sime Darby Motors (SDM) is in talks with China’s BYD to be the latter’s official distributor in Malaysia. The auto division of conglomerate Sime Darby told The Edge that it is currently in “initial discussions” with BYD, the Shenzhen-based EV specialist.

“We are in initial discussions with BYD, which are ongoing. Should there be pertinent developments, this will be announced as and when appropriate,” SDM said when contacted by the business publication.

“SDM continues to grow our line-up of EVs via our partnerships with global brands. Besides BMW, other EVs in our portfolio include the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Hyundai Kona Electric, Porsche Taycan and Volvo XC40 (Recharge Pure Electric), with many other models in the pipeline. EV sales remain encouraging and we continue to see an increase, with orders outstripping allocation,” it added.

Word is that SDM will be bringing in 2,000 units of BYD’s EVs into Malaysia by the end of 2022, and another 10,000 units next year, but the auto group did not comment on this speculation. Sime Darby Motors is already the distributor for BYD in Singapore via their Vantage Automotive Limited subsidiary.

If you’ve been hearing a fair bit about BYD these days, it’s because the Warren Buffett-backed Fortune 500 company – which was into EVs way before it became trendy – is expanding into Thailand, which will be its base for exports to ASEAN and even Europe. BYD has purchased a piece of land in Rayong for its factory, and its new Thailand distributor, Rever Automotive, is set to launch its first CBU model on October 10.

That car is the BYD Atto 3, of which deliveries recently started in Australia. The Extended Range variant will debut in Thailand next month at around 1.2 million baht (RM146,809) and the Standard Range will launch at the end of 2022, possibly at the Thailand International Motor Expo.

The neat-looking electric crossover features a front-mounted 204 PS/310 Nm electric motor, which is good for 0-100 km/h in 7.3 seconds. The Standard Range comes with a 49.92 kWh battery offering 345 km of range (WLTP, 410 km if NEDC), while the Extended Range gets a 60.48 kWh unit that’s rated at 420 km (WLTP, 480 km if NEDC). The in-house Blade EV batteries support AC charging (Type 2 connection) up to 7 kW as well as DC fast charging (CCS2).

For the latter, the Standard Range can take in 70 kW max, while it’s 80 kW for the Extended Range, the higher input allowing for 0-80% state of charge in 45 minutes. One can also charge appliances via V2L (vehicle-to-load) at up to 2.2 kW. Click on the links above for more on BYD’s Thailand move.

What do you think of the BYD Atto 3? Currently, the Hyundai Kona Electric e-Lite at RM156,538 – duty-free but with SST – is the most affordable EV in Malaysia, and the Atto 3 could possibly undercut it in price.

GALLERY: BYD Atto 3

GALLERY: BYD Seal

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