Is BYD's release of both hardcore off-road vehicles and supercars in one go a display of courage or ambition?

In May of last year, Li Yunfei, the General Manager of BYD’s BYD brand and public relations department announced that BYD’s passenger car business consists of the Wangchao, Haiyang, Tengshi, and high-end brands. Excluding the joint venture Tengshi, the most expensive fully-owned product is only the Tang EV with a price of up to 342,800 yuan.

Since the first public announcement of BYD’s high-end brand YANGCHEN Automobile on November 8, 2022, the news of its first high-end tough off-road vehicle with a price of over one million yuan has continuously appeared in the public’s view, which is a stark contrast with BYD’s current product positioning. On January 5th, at YANGCHEN Brand and Technology Release Conference, YANGCHEN Automobile officially released its first product U8 and a zero-to-hundred-seconds-class supercar U9.

As the first batch of models of BYD’s high-end brand, it launched a new energy hard-core SUV and a new energy supercar into this niche market. Is this expansion from BYD or admirable courage? Let’s take a look at what YANGCHEN U8 can offer us.

Million-Level Tough SUV

In recent years, Chinese domestic brands’ tough SUVs are filling this gap. The most expensive Tank 500 top-equipped version of Great Wall Motor is only 395,000 yuan. Among the referenceable competitors in the million-level price range for YANGCHEN U8’s official announcement, it seems that only the Land Rover Defender 110 series, a veteran off-road brand, is comparable.

In terms of appearance, the first impression YANGCHEN U8 gives people is that of a million-level tough SUV. But the originality is not high, as the vehicle’s profile has a certain similarity with the Land Rover Defender 110.

The upper part of the U8’s front face is decorated with a large area of matrix-shaped lamp units, and the matrix pattern decoration extends to the middle grille, perfectly integrating the daytime running lights, split-type headlights and the intake grille. However, it remains to be seen how users with trypophobia will feel when they see the front of this car.

A matte gray panel is used as the front bumper below the intake grille, and the limited use of chrome and black smoked materials is still very luxurious. The U8’s front face not only meets the current trend of split-type headlights and similar enclosed intake grille designs, but also gives the U8 a distinctive identity.

The U8’s taillights are also split-type design, with a light strip style that echoes the front face and is also in the shape of the letter “工” (Gong). The taillights are also decorated with a matrix pattern. At night, the taillights alone can easily identify the U8 in a sea of cars, which is an expensive car.

As a rugged SUV, the U8 also has a common small backpack, and the size tells us that it contains a full-size spare tire.

High price is due to mature core technology

Behind the exterior design, the U8’s four-motor four-wheel drive technology was highlighted at the press conference. This is also the key to BYD’s belief that it can sell the U8 at a high price due to the maturity of its top-level core technology.

The U8 from WM Motor boasts a four-wheel drive system with four electric motors, officially known as the “Yi Sifang” platform. The U8 features 800 V silicon carbide motors, each with a peak power output of 220-240 kW, a torque of 320-420 N·m, and can achieve 0-100 km/h acceleration in just 3 seconds with a maximum horsepower of 1,100.

On paper, its performance parameters already exceed that of GMC’s Hummer EV, which is quite impressive for an SUV of this size.

Although there is no official statement yet on the U8’s specific powertrain, the cutaway view shows that the U8 is equipped with a small blade battery located between the main beams.

There is a combustion engine on the front axle, which may be in the form of a DM-i. Since it has a main beam structure, it is obvious that the U8 adopts a non-load-bearing body structure. Despite the current trend of Land Rover’s entire lineup switching to load-bearing structures, the U8 still has a non-load-bearing body that makes it look very hard-core. This provides better performance when facing steep slopes or large pits.

With the powertrain and body structure in place, the “Yi Sifang” platform’s four-wheel drive technology comes in handy. The U8’s four electric motors can independently control the torque and direction of each wheel. For example, if one side of the vehicle has a blowout, the car can remain stable by reversing the motor, helping the driver avoid the risk of losing control.

At the same time, the “Yi Sifang” four-wheel drive system can achieve ultimate anti-slip control by independent torque distribution, which is another improvement in traction control by BYD since last year’s release of the iTAC technology along with the BYD Dolphin.

Since its positioning is a hardcore SUV, the U8 also has unique use cases in the wilderness, thanks to its ability to independently control the torque size and direction of all four wheels, the U8 can even achieve stationary turning like a tank. This technology seems to be already present in Hummer EV and Rivian R1T, but the functionality showcased by U8 still amazed me.

With an IP68 waterproof rating, the U8 not only can go through the water but also has emergency float function under the “EasyFour” four-wheel-drive system, allowing the vehicle to move horizontally or vertically in the water through the power distribution of its four motors. In the promotional video, we can even see vortexes created in the water. This feature is indeed rare.

In addition, Yewang Automotive also revealed the perceptual hardware of U8. The intelligent driving sensor not only has conventional cameras, millimeter-wave radar, and ultrasonic radar but also has a lidar module. In the patent diagram, we can see that the wheel-side surround has an embedded lidar module, and the module of the rear-facing camera is also integrated into the gear-shaped structure of the bumper. Whether the top of the vehicle is equipped with lidar is still to be determined.

## The Easter Egg to look up to

After introducing U8, YANGWANG has brought us an Easter egg – a supercar with 2-second-level acceleration.

The supercar is named YANGWANG U9, from the rendering image, it can be seen that it is a mid-engine layout like supercar, also equipped with “Easy4.0” platform as U8, and is expected to use 800 V silicon carbide motor, with single motor peak power of 220-240 kW and torque of 320-420 N·m. However, the acceleration to 100 km/h is at 2-second-level, which has already crossed into the performance range of Ferrari SF90.

In appearance, YANGWANG U9 uses a very exaggerated aerodynamic design, and the specific body parameters have not been introduced by the official. My favorite part of the appearance of the whole car is the shark fin wing on the rear hood. Although I don’t know what effect it will have on aerodynamics, it looks very sci-fi visually.

The car doors also use the common butterfly door opening method in supercars, which is eye-catching wherever it is parked.

There is one thing that surprises me. As a high-performance supercar, the front wheel caliper of YANGWANG U9 is actually on the front axle, while the rear wheel caliper is on the rear axle. The rear electronic parking caliper is placed in front of the rear axle. For a supercar that requires an extreme central gravity, this seems to be unusual.

## Conclusion

At the brand and technology conference, YANGWANG also stated that it will open stores in six cities: Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Chengdu. The U8 and U9 unveiled at the conference are also expected to meet everyone in the city stores.

Although YANGWANG only showcased its two new cars and introduced the “Easyway” platform at the entire conference, these two new cars are precisely selected in the ultra-luxury market that domestic brands are still hesitant to attempt. This market is very niche. Taking Volkswagen Group as an example, mainstream brands such as Volkswagen and Audi still profit in sales volume, while Lamborghini and Bentley are used to showcase brand technology and value.

YANGWANG boasted the million-level price tag of the U8 at the conference. Although the “Easyway” technology has some breakthroughs, it still depends on the final strength, configuration, price, after-sales, and brand value of the U8 to support consumers to pay for the million-level price tag.

As a racing car, the U9 does not look cheap. Previously, LINGPAI and QIANTU have tried new energy sports cars, but the ending of sports car products was unsatisfactory due to the small audience. Now, AIAN and NEZHA are also trying new energy sports cars, indicating that everyone still has ambitions to fill the gap in sports cars.

Releasing a million-level hardcore SUV and a supercar at once at a press conference, it can be seen that BYD has courage. At the same time, BYD, which has achieved an annual sales volume of 1.86 million, also has ambitions to open up the high-end market. Next, it depends on the real strength of YANGWANG.Information source: Up Official





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This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email