BYD will begin delivering its electric crossovers in Norway during the third quarter of this year, the company announced Wednesday, the latest example of a Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker pushing into the European auto market.

Why it matters: The move is BYD’s first major foray into Europe’s passenger EV market. Prior to the annoucement, the company’s focus in the region had primarily been on buses.

  • The Chinese EV giant will have to take on big auto names including Volkswagen and Tesla, while competing with fellow Chinese EV makers including Nio and Xpeng Motors, which have a headstart in establishing a presence in the market.

Details: BYD said on Wednesday it will begin shipping the first 100 of its Tang electric sport utility vehicles to Norway at the end of this month and start deliveries during the third quarter.

  • The EV maker expects to hand over a total of 1,500 Tang SUVs in the country by year-end. The seven-seater all-electric crossover is priced at NOK 599,900 ($72,200), around 50% higher than its price in China, and offers a driving range of 505 km (314 miles) on a single charge.
  • BYD’s cars will be sold through Norwegian car dealership RSA, the Chinese auto giant said last year.

Context: Norway, where EVs accounted for more than 50% of car sales last year, has become a testing ground for Chinese automakers eager to tap into the fierce but fast-growing European EV market.

  • Volkswagen’s partner SAIC was the first Chinese carmaker to enter Norway, and reportedly sold 3,720 EVs in the country last year (in Chinese).
  • Xpeng followed suit in September. Norwegian car dealers handed over 300 of the company’s G3 electric crossovers to customers during the first three months of 2021.
  • Nio last month said that it will establish its direct sales and service model in Europe by opening its first flagship showroom and start delivering vehicles to customers in Norway in the third quarter of this year.
  • Europe last year became the world biggest passenger EV market for the first time, registering nearly 1.37 million electric cars versus China’s 1.27 million, according to figures from the EV Sales blog.
  • Volkswagen-owned Audi was Norway’s top-selling automaker last year, delivering 9,227 EVs in the country, followed by Tesla with sales of 7,770 Model 3 sedans, reported CNN.

Jill Shen

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen