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‘Han-tulin!’; Slip of the ‘Tang’

‘Han-tulin!’; Slip of the ‘Tang’

Tessa R. Salazar

BYD Cars PH admits performance clinics needed for owners of its high-powered EVs

 

 

With great power comes great responsibility. This much I assessed after taking the 7-seater SUV BYD Tang and the Han luxury sedan on a spin during the performance clinic for members of the motoring media at the Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub in Imus, Cavite last June 25.

I was still catching my breath, gathering my wits about me, and contemplating the power and capabilities of these two cars, when the thought dawned on me that it must be part of the purchase protocol for new owners of these high-performance EVs to be subjected to driver orientation training by BYD Philippines and its dealerships.

At this EV “track day” called “Overdrive: The BYD Performance Experience” at Ayala Vermosa, BYD Philippines cordoned off portions of the roads for its exclusive use so that we could push these two EVs to their limits in terms of acceleration, torque, and ride stability of the vehicles’ all-wheel-drive in a safe environment. And I tell you, the Han and the Tang are a totally different breed of EVs. They are frighteningly powerful, yet extraordinarily safe and stable vehicles. Their spec sheets may give us the high numbers, but reading power on paper doesn’t really hit home, until you experience this for yourself when you’re behind the wheel, or as a passenger.

All this time we’ve been fixated on EVs’ range, but BYD Philippines, via its numerous range runs with the motoring media for the past six months in different provinces, have proven that its EVs can go the distance, as advertised, and then some. This was the first time BYD Philippines let us test their vehicles for performance, and based on my experience, I do see the need for buyers of the Han and Tang to be given the same kind of driver “awakening” that we all had.

It seems that BYD Cars Philippines does have a similar plan for its customers. Erroll Duenas, after sales and network development director of Mobility Access Philippines Ventures Inc (Mapvi), the ACMobility subsidiary that’s the official distributor of BYD Cars Philippines, said: “We are planning to conduct customer clinics as they have many questions. We really wanted to address those questions.”

Duenas explained how such uncanny power is generated by the Tang and Han, as these two vehicles are equipped with two motors—one at the front and one at the rear—which direct the energy straight to all the wheels.

“There’s no loss in the torque. Compared with internal combustion engines (ICEs), the ICEs may have the top speed, but EVs have the power and torque,” he said. It’s the torque that quite literally takes your breath away and makes your head whip back onto the headrest. On the streets, it’s the torque that gives you the head start whenever the red light turns green.”

Duenas further pointed out that what makes EVs deceptively powerful is the silence of its motors. Most of us have been used to driving ICE-powered cars that become noisier when we go faster, or accelerate more forcefully. But with EVs, the silence is constant, and there are no audible cues warning you that you’ve already sped up that much.

Simple exercises

The performance tests for the Tang and Han were quite easy to grasp. For the Tang SUV, there was the traction exercise wherein we were made to perform quick evasive maneuvers on a soapy and slippery surface (in this case, a giant linoleum sheet). The Tang’s all-wheel drive, combined with the traction and stability controls, allowed the drivers to retain control of the vehicle despite the slippery conditions. Veteran motorsports instructor Georges Ramirez, who supervised the clinic, remarked that the exercise was “uneventful because the Tang is just behaving too well.”

And this beast of a machine does need to behave well, what with 700 Nm of torque at the driver’s disposal, and the ability to accelerate from 0 to 100 kph in just 4.9 seconds.

Horizontal rocket

That was the image in my mind after subjecting my body to the G-forces of the luxury sedan Han’s acceleration and torque. If you can’t imagine how 0 to 100 kph in 3.9 seconds feels like, welcome to my club. I certainly had a somewhat rude awakening when I buckled down onto this rocket, and launched horizontally. It only took around 50 meters for the Han to reach maximum legal expressway speed from standstill. A quick look at the spec sheet tells me how the Han can do this: An AWD drivetrain with a 2-motor configuration (same as the Tang) that churns out 244 and 271 ps of power at the front and rear, respectively, and 700 N-m of torque. The Han offers three drive modes— economy, normal and sport. I assume that I was on normal mode when I did the acceleration test. Otherwise, God help us in sport mode.

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On paper

The Tang’s spec sheet reveals it has a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating awarded in 2023. It has adaptive cruise control, 360-degree around view camera with see through mode, front and rear sensor system, blind spot detection, and the works. Inside, it has the state-of-the-art rotating 15.6-inch touchscreen. I just wish BYD didn’t use Nappa leather (usually derived from calves, lambs and kid goats), since sustainability, for me, would also mean not using animals for their skin. There are already better materials that would not require slaughtering animals. The proprietary BYD Blade Battery, according to its maker, is “the only battery to safely pass the nail penetration test: No fire emitted, no smoke emitted” with the help of its unique array arrangement and honeycomb structure that serves as a structural beam, adding strength to the battery. The 108.8-kWh battery enables the Tang to achieve 530km of range. It also has a claimed long battery life—over 3,000 charge and discharge cycles.

Ownership savings of up to 70 percent

Patrick Manigbas, AC Mobility marketing director, told the participants that the ownership savings for using the Tang and Han compared to its ICE counterparts, could run up to 70 percent.

Mikko David, BYD Cars Philippines’ head of corporate communications, said that every BYD vehicle comes with a portable charger which you can plug at home. The Han and Tang also have V2L features (vehicle to load). The owner can plug the cable on the charging socket/port, which would act as an extension of sorts, and you can plug your coffee maker, electric fan, lights and go camping. It is capable of supplying power to your gadgets and appliances in case of an emergency or power outage.

BYD Cars Philippines now has six active dealerships: BGC, Pampanga, Cebu, Makati, Quezon Avenue and Davao, which is about to open. For this year, there will be 22 to 25 dealerships nationwide, all flagship sizes and flagship amenities.