BYD publicizes new shock absorption expertise for premium EVs

BYD’s Han electric car, pictured here at the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show, is one of the most popular new energy vehicles in China.

Evelyn Cheng | CNBC

SHENZHEN, China – Electric vehicle giant BYD relies on new driver assistance technologies to make driving easier.

BYD, backed by Warren Buffett Berkshire Hathaway, announced on Monday a new technological system for stabilizing car journeys through rough terrain, sharp turns and even shallow water. The shock absorption technology is said to be a feature of the company’s recently launched premium brand Yangwang.

“Traditionally, luxury cars have been defined by brand and history. With new-energy luxury vehicles, it’s all about the technology and the products,” BYD founder Wang Chuanfu said at a launch event on Monday, according to a Mandarin translation of CNBC.

He claimed the technology represents a “breakthrough” that “leads and surpasses the foreign technological level.”

The update comes ahead of the Shanghai Auto Show, due to start next week, where many Chinese automakers will make product and model announcements.

Part of the technical system uses the same “lidar” sensors used in assisted driving, according to BYD. Lidar, short for “Light Detection and Ranging,” uses lasers to create detailed maps of the environment.

The automaker said in a press release that its new “DiSus” system “provides a foundation for future development of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).”

The company has taken a relatively cautious approach to self-driving technology.

When asked about “smart driving” during a call with investors in late March, BYD management said autonomous driving still faces the challenge of determining liability in the event of an accident. Still, according to management, advanced assisted driving technology has the potential to improve overall safety. That’s according to a filing of the call last month, which can be accessed through the Wind Information database.

The industry as a whole has been working to balance ambitious driver assistance options with proper safety protocols. EV guide Tesla In February, more than 360,000 cars were recalled because of assisted driving software for city streets, which they say could cause accidents.

This urban assisted driving software is not available for Tesla drivers in China.

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It wasn’t immediately clear how Tesla’s shock absorbing capabilities compare to those of BYD, but other automakers in China are exploring similar technologies.

In September, Nio’s investment fund Nio Capital led a $39 million funding round to Boston-based active suspension software company ClearMotion.

Many details still unknown

BYD’s Wang didn’t elaborate on what the company’s new DiSus system would cost or when it would be generally available.

Two of the compatible car models – Yangwang’s forthcoming U8 SUV and the Denza N7 SUV – are not yet available for delivery. car giant Daimler has a small stake in BYD’s Denza brand.

BYD said some of its existing Han, Tang and Denza models will receive the new technology through an over-the-air upgrade.

The new system is available in three versions – “Damping”, “Air” and “Hydraulic” – which are tuned for custom integration with specific BYD models.

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

In the first quarter, BYD said it sold 264,647 all-electric passenger vehicles, up more than 80% from a year ago. Sales of hybrid passenger cars doubled in the first quarter compared to the previous year to 283,270.

For its part, Tesla said it shipped more than 422,000 cars worldwide in the first quarter, without sharing a regional breakdown. China typically accounts for well over 20% of Tesla’s sales.

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