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BYD unveils unique AWD EV platform for big water

Aug 12, 2023Aug 12, 2023

The world's largest EV maker BYD took the stage today to announce its new e⁴ quad-motor platform for performance vehicles, the first of which - a big 5-meter electric offroad SUV, and a fast hypercar - will be launched under the newly minted Yangwang brand. Unlike AWD solutions on gas-powered cars, the e⁴ platform allows for independent adjustments of the torque and vectoring of each wheel down to the millisecond timeframe, thus increasing stability, grip, and offroad capabilities.

The Yangwang U8 SUV demonstrated that when it came onto the stage in a crabwalk manner, while in the case of a tire explosion, the three remaining wheels can adjust their torque multiple times per second until the vehicle stops safely. Given the dearth of truly off-road electric SUVs, the U8 could very well become a unique proposition with its 18 feet long body that can still turn on a dime thanks to the independent torque vectoring of the wheel motors. The BYD SUV will be available first at a price equivalent of US$145,000.

The U9 hypercar, on the other hand, seems to be still in the concept stage, but the e⁴ quad-motor platform which can otherwise provide up to 1,100 HP, will allow it to stop from going at 100 km/h in 40 meters even if both the brakes and the steering wheel are not functional.

On top of all that independent motion, the new BYD drivetrain will be water-resistant with IP68 certification, giving vehicles built on it certain flotation abilities in emergency situations. The platform can deliver up to 20,500 revolutions per minute which propel the heavy U8 SUV from 0-62 mph in under four seconds, while the nimbler hypercar will be able to accelerate in less than 3 seconds. The e⁴ vehicles will be sold via dedicated dealers and channels, though BYD stays mum on the exact U8 release date for now.

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