By Stephen Macharia
On the road, the BYD-T3 van looks just like any other van. It has aesthetic appeal with a nice rake angle and frame. But in Kenya, the BYD – T3 is the newest fully electric vehicle (EV) in market.
This van is a peep to the future of urban cargo transportation, that’s according to Brian Chege, the General Manager of Meta Electric.
Meta electric are front runners in the race to electric mobility in Kenya, with a strong expertise in supply and maintenance of Evs. Badged BYD, an abbreviation for “Build Your Dreams”, the van is manufactured in China and commands a big market for electric cars globally.
BYD is China’s sixth largest car maker. The BYD -T3 is their debut EV van in Kenya. But will it disrupt Kenya’s auto market?
The jury is still out. The BYD T3 is among the pioneering 100% electric compact vans in Kenya. It comes with a rare combination of features; low energy consumption and high performance.
And because the manufacturer knows consumers need confidence in EVs, the vehicle has a warranty of 8 years or 500,000 kilometers, whichever comes first. It is almost guaranteed that you will like how the drive feels.
Its pure electric drive reveals what the van has under its body. The van is fitted with a powerful electric motor and automated gear shift, providing a smooth and zero vibration drive. The motor is powered by 50.3kWh battery that provides silent-running rides and zero emissions. Electric power has eradicated tailpipe emissions while the battery technology powers the van to slightly over 300 km driving range on a full charge.
Let’s delve right into the BYD-T3 van
There is nothing much to write about the interior of the T3. It may be disappointing to know but the T3 interior hasn’t come with exotic leather and wood finishing. However, the seats are comfortable with enough regroom for the driver and passenger. It comes fitted with a radio and two speakers. On safety, the van has passenger and driver airbags.
Range and Charging
The BYD -T3 is a commercial van, a workhorse meant to spend hours on the road as opposed to being parked for long hours. Thankfully, the van battery recharges in approximately 1.2 hours on DC charger. While you connect it to the main grid power, the battery will take about 7.2 hours to fully charge. You can therefore leave it charging overnight after a workday and have it on the move the following day
Cargo load and space
The T3 rear interior is preloaded with aluminum chequered cargo plate flooring. You can easily clean it. It has a slide door on its either side. The doors are manually operated. It also has a rear door from where cargo can be loaded or offloaded. It boasts an ample payload of 780 kilograms and a carrying capacity of 3.8 cubic meters. The vehicle makes a good choice for last mile deliveries and security surveillance. It is also a choice for providers of airport transfers since it can be refitted into a taxi for corporate transport needs.
Drivetrain and performance
Unlike conventional vehicles, EVs do not have a single speed gearbox. The T3 has one gear. Yes, you read it right. Its gearshift is electric and therefore replaces the various transmission options available – manual or automatic. With a maximum power of 94bhp, the BYD T3 has an optimal speed of 100 kilometers per hour. Its drive range of 300 kilometers means you can drive from Nairobi to Nanyuki and back without a battery recharge.
Maintenance and running costs
Forget the mileage bookmark always hanging near the steering wheel. EVs do not have spark plugs, filters and oils. The T3 is cheap to maintain because it has just 10% of parts in typical internal combustion engine vehicles. They are therefore more cost effective in terms of repairs and maintenance. The cost of running an electric vehicle is 80% cheaper than a conventional vehicle according to Meta Electric. Chege says it costs Sh300 per 100 kilometers to run the van. It therefore implies that you can drive from Nairobi to Nakuru at a cost of about Sh1000 compared to Sh5000 spent on petrol used to power a 2000cc vehicle for the same distance.