4 min read
28 Feb

In a Nutshell: 

  • BYD YangWang U8: Luxury SUV with semi-amphibious capabilities
  • Unique Floating Ability: Stay afloat for 30 mins in water emergencies
  • Advanced Technology: Four electric motors for agile maneuvers
  • Exclusive Availability: Currently only sold in China

On February 27, 2024, China's BYD unveiled the Yangwang U8 luxury plug-in hybrid SUV with semi-amphibious capabilities at the prestigious Geneva International Motor Show

This talk-of-the-town automobile weighs around 3.5 metric tons and boasts features like floating capability in water accidents, sideways parking like a crab, and the ability to make a complete turn on the spot, thanks to its four electric motors. 

We'd like to say that the U8 is only "currently" for sale in China. Indeed, BYD hasn't ruled out exporting the floating SUV to other markets in the future, but the company's regional marketing manager has just ruled out any plans of shipping the YangWang U8 "as is" to markets outside China. 

"This vehicle could perhaps be brought to certain European markets with limited distribution, but not necessarily exactly in its current form," BYD's marketing manager for France Guillaume Calvar told Reuters. Since November, BYD has sold 3,653 units of the U8, priced at 1.098 million yuan ($152,550) in China, as of January. 

See also:

Here's Why The BYD YangWang U9 Is The Cheapest Supercar Worth The Money 

Float Like A Platypus, Park Like A Crab: The Science Behind The YangWang U8's Amphibious Capability

BYD YangWang U8 floating on water.

Photo credit: BYD Fan

The most celebrated feature of the BYD YangWang U8 is its unique amphibious ability. The SUV's capability to float on water in emergencies for up to 30 minutes and travel at a speed of around 2 mph (3 km/h) has garnered significant attention, praise, and very important discussions. 

This feature alone sets the YangWang U8 apart as a versatile and innovative vehicle, offering enhanced safety and unique capabilities for adventurous and challenging driving conditions. 

The U8 executes the amphibious tricks thanks to its advanced waterproof design and unique emergency floating mode.

 In case of accidents or emergencies such as flash floods, the SUV elevates its suspension, turns off its engine, switches its HVAC system to re-circulation mode, and seals its windows. This enables the vehicle to remain afloat for up to 30 minutes and travel through water as deep as its windows. 

The SUV can also drive forward at speeds of up to 1.8 mph and maneuver around obstacles if necessary. 

The technology behind the floating ability is part of the U8's underpinning, including its extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) powertrain with four electric motors and a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that acts as a range extender. 

This advanced technology allows the SUV to be all-terrain capable, offering both off-road and water-floating capabilities. 

Why Is The YangWang U8 So Heavy?

Why BYD's Yangwang U8 is so heavy.

BYD Yangwang U8-Premium Edition

The U8 weighs almost 4 tons primarily because it's amphibious, but don’t let the weight fool you. The U8’s hardcore powertrain churns out a mighty 1,197 horsepower and 944 lb-ft of torque. 

The BYD YangWang U8 weighs approximately 3.5 metric tons due to its robust and versatile design. Equipped with four electric motors, one in each wheel, the SUV can execute super-cool maneuvers such as crab-like sideways parking and making precise turns on the spot. 

This agility and exceptional control capability require sturdy construction and efficient power delivery, contributing to the vehicle's weight. 

The U8’s weight also enhances its on-road stability and off-road performance. 3.5 metric tons translates to roughly 8,000 lbs, which doesn’t stop the SUV from barreling from rest to 60 mph in a breezy 3.6 seconds. 

Considering the innovative technological features, luxurious design, and unique capabilities, the U8’s beefiness is easily forgiven. Moreover, the U8’s weight supports its floating capability, ensuring stability and safety while floating and fording water. 

What Else Should You Know About The YangWang U8?

BYD YangWang U8 overview.

The YangWang U8 is manufactured under the YangWang brand, which is a high-end sub-brand of BYD Auto. It was unveiled in China and introduced to the market in early 2023. 

The U8 is a plug-in hybrid SUV with a petrol engine acting as a range extender. It is designed as a full-size luxury SUV with a spacious and luxurious interior, advanced technological features, and a robust yet elegant exterior design. 

The U8 features a revolutionary e⁴ Platform and the DiSus-P Intelligent Hydraulic Body Control System, representing class-leading safety and performance technologies designed to enhance off-road capabilities and safety. 

BYD YangWang U8 innovative platform.

The SUV’s plug-in hybrid system returns a CLTC (Comprehensive Long Trip Capability) range of up to 621 miles (1,000 km). 

The U8 Premium Edition packs a whopping 1,200 horsepower and can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds, revealing itself as a member of the apex-hunting high-performance SUV class.  

The U8 is renowned for its all-terrain tank turns, tire blowout stabilization, and emergency flotation capability. It features all-wheel drive technology with four separate electric motors, allowing the traction control system to redistribute torque for stability and maneuverability in various driving conditions. 

The U8's electronically controlled all-wheel drive system is 100 times faster than a conventional all-wheel drive system, providing rapid sensing, precise recognition, and robust control capabilities. 

Additionally, the U8 Premium Edition supports fast DC charging at rates of up to 110 kW, allowing a charge from 30% to 80% in just 18 minutes.  In extreme conditions, such as flash floods or off-road water obstacles, the U8 Premium Edition can remain afloat for up to 30 minutes. 

BYD YangWang U8 floating on water.

Photo credit: Electrek

The BYD YangWang U8 is undoubtedly an unprecedented premium off-roader with advanced technology, exceptional performance, luxurious features, and an emphasis on safety and stability in various driving scenarios. 

See also: 

Orders Now Open For Europe's Cheapest Electric Car: The All-New Citroen e-C3 – Review 

Made In China For China

BYD YangWang U8 is made in China for the Chinese market.

The BYD YangWang U8 is currently only sold in China due to various factors, including its unique characteristics, market testing, and production limitations. 

The YangWang U8 has generated significant interest and demand in the Chinese market, with reported pre-sales and orders exceeding 30,000 units, indicating high customer demand and enthusiasm for the vehicle. 

While there is not yet an official confirmation for export to other markets, BYD has hinted at the potential of bringing the vehicle to certain European markets with limited distribution. 

However, market testing and consideration of potential modifications are part of BYD's approach to expansion into new markets. Moreover, BYD's focus on its electric and hybrid range, along with launching its premium Denza brand, indicates the company's strategic approach to market expansion and brand positioning. 

The company continues to evaluate the appeal and potential of the YangWang U8 as it navigates potential expansion and export opportunities to other regions. The unique features and high demand for the YangWang U8 in China have already positioned it as a sought-after and exclusive vehicle in the market.

Featured photo credit: Reuters

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