On September 20, the YangWang U8 EREV SUV was launched in China. It is AWD with four electric motors and a combined output of 880 kW (1,197 horsepower). U8 can perform 360° tank turn, wade, and float on water in emergencies.
YangWang is a premium brand under BYD. The U8 launched in two versions – Premium Edition and Off-road Master Edition. The version that started presales today was the Premium Edition, and it will begin deliveries in October.
The Off-road Master will hit the market later and has some extra off-road add-ons, like a tougher-looking front bumper, that extends towards the bottom of the car to protect against collision in the wild. It also features a snorkel and detachable roof rack with a small ladder on the side.
U8 Premium Edition costs 1,089,000 yuan (150k USD), making U8 the most expensive China’s mass-produced electric car. Master Off-road Edition pre-sale price wasn’t announced yet but is expected to be the same.
YangWang U8 is a giant SUV with dimensions (L/W/H) 5319/2050/1930 mm and a wheelbase of 3050 mm. It is 502 mm longer, 137 mm narrower, and 39 mm lower than the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. As for the wheelbase, it is 160 mm longer.
The car sits on an e4 platform and is equipped with a Disus-P hydraulic body control system, which allows the vehicle to rise and lower up to 150 mm.
Despite such enormous dimensions, it is only a 5-seater, not offering a third-row option. The gross weight is 3,985 kg, and the curb weight is 3,460 kg, based on MIIT-released data.
U8 is an electric range extended vehicle (EREV), like Li Auto. It means it has an ICE that works as a power generator for the battery but isn’t connected to the wheels. In this case, a 2.0L turbo powers a 49.05 kWh Blade battery with LFP chemistry inside. It is supplemented with Cell-to-Chassis (CTC) technology, which means the battery is integrated into the chassis. The range is 180 km under CLTC terms, and the comprehensive range with a full battery and 75-liter fuel tank is 1000 km.
ICE is mated with quad electric motors, each with a power of 220 kW. Total power is 880 kW with 1,280 Nm peak torque. Top speed is limited to 200 km/h, and 0-100 acceleration is 3.6 seconds.
According to CarNewsChina information from sources familiar with the matter, BYD is also considering the all-electric version next year. That would compete with Dongfeng’s all-electric off-road beast M-Hero 917.
U8 supports DC fast charging up to 110 kW, making 30% – 80% possible in 18 minutes. Its 6 kW vehicle-to-load (VTL) discharge capability can power electronic devices for up to 25 hours.
The silicon heart of Yangwang’s SUV is the Nvidia Drive Orin SoC, with a computational power of 508 TOPS. 38 sensors feed it with input, including 3 lidars, 13 cameras, 12 ultrasonic radars, and 5 millimeter wave radars. It supports L2 ADAS.
Inside the car, you find lots of Nappa leather and 6 massive screens: a 23.6″ instrument panel for the driver, a 12.8″ central control screen, and another 23.6″ infotainment screen for the co-pilot. Two more screens are for rear passengers mounted to the back of the front seats, and the last LCD is on the console between the rear seats. There is also a 70″ augmented reality head-up display and 22 speakers from Dynaudio.
The U8 also features three smartphone wireless chargers and some not-so-common in-car tech, such as a thermographic camera and integrated satellite phone. Both versions of U8 have spare tires.
Wading and floating mode
Like every good off-roader, U8 can wade. The Premium Edition can wade in a maximum depth of 1000 mm, while the Off-road Master Edition can wade up to 1,400mm thanks to the snorkel.
When the wading mode is activated, the vehicle will use its sensors to monitor the environment, water depth, wheel slip status, etc. The emergency floating mode is automatically activated when the car gets into depth over the limit.
When activated, the combustion engine will immediately shut down, Disus-P will raise the suspension to the maximum level, windows will be closed automatically, A/C will be switched to internal circulation, and the sunroof will open, providing an emergency exit. Moreover, the vehicle will display the water depth and attitude on the central control screen.
U8 can stay afloat for 30 minutes and move forward at 3 km/h by accelerating and turning wheels. It can even perform tank turns while floating. BYD highlights that it is only for emergencies such as floods and not for fun crossing lakes and rivers. Interestingly, their marketing materials showcase U8 floating on the water exactly in those situations. After the emergency floating mode activation, the car needs to be brought to a service center for inspection. BYD claims U8 is IP68 level waterproof.
Direct sales model
During the launch conference, Yangwang announced they would focus on a direct sales model. They have 60 stores under construction in 40 cities and plan to open 90 stores by the year-end. That is a similar strategy BYD has with its second brand – Fang Cheng Bao – which recently started to take over stores and showrooms of premium brands like Mercedes-Benz, Aston Martin or Maserati. Unlike YangWang and Fang Cheng Bao, BYD uses a standard dealership model for its BYD-badged cars.
BYD was never building premium EVs, and YangWang U8 is their most expensive car ever and one of the most costly cars in China. The goal is obvious: BYD needs to increase its margin, and budged EVs such as best-selling Seagull and Dolphin can’t help. Thus, new sub-brands come to the rescue: YangWang, Fang Cheng Bao, and Denza.
“We must develop high-end technology to take on high-end brands,” said Wang Chuanfu, founder and CEO of BYD, and continued, “Technological innovation is our only opportunity to take the lead in change.”
BYD has always had a dream to build a high-end luxury car. However, there are also doubts. Will customers buy a premium car from a brand historically focused on mid-class and affordable vehicles? BYD will undergo the market test, and we will soon see the result. Based on the excitement U8 caused in Chinese media and the tech that looks great on paper, the starting position of BYD is more than favorable.