Plug-in hybrids and pure-electric cars have been offered in the U.S. over the last decade. There are still several great options available in Europe and Asia that we miss here, as well as several models available or slated for release in those regions exclusively. The Bangkok International Motor Show 2023 opened on March 20, 2023, and runs through April 2, 2023. We checked out a few of them, and here are our top picks.
BYD Han EV
The BYD Han EV is a large electric sedan, but one derived from an ICE car. However, it’s an affordable mainstream car, not a luxury model. While the Model S starts at CNY 789,900, the Han EV’s base price is just CNY 209,800, in the Chinese market.
The Han EV is 4,995 mm (196.7 in.) long, 1,910 mm (75.2 in.) wide, and 1,495 mm (58.9 in.) tall, and it has a 2,920 mm (115.0 in.) wheelbase. It is available in FWD and AWD drivetrain layouts, with the latter enabled by an additional, rear motor. The car you see here is in the top-end configuration, sporting a twin-motor powertrain that generates 380 kW (509 hp) and 700 Nm (516 lb.-ft.) of torque. A 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint takes just 3.9 seconds. An 85.4 kWh battery pack supplies energy to the motors and delivers a range (CLTC) of 610 km (379 miles). Configurations with a higher range (CLTC) of 715 km (441 miles) are available as well.
Designed and engineered to meet the needs of even overseas customers, the BYD Seal is one of the most advanced EVs in the mass market segments from China. With a dedicated electric platform (e-Platform 3.0), the EV is slightly smaller than the BYD Han EV but with the same wheelbase and better performance.
The Seal is 4,800 mm (189.0 in.) long, 1,875 mm (73.8 in.) wide, and 1,460 mm (57.5 in.) tall, and it has a 2,920 mm (115.0 in.) wheelbase. It’s available in single-motor RWD and twin-motor AWD variants, with up to 390 kW (523 hp) and 670 Nm (494 lb.-ft.) of torque. It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) as quickly as just 3.8 seconds. With an energy storage capacity of up to 82.5 kWh, its Blade battery pack, featuring CTB (Cell to Body) technology, gives an impressive driving range (CLTC) of up to 700 km (435 miles).
Toyota Hilux Electric
The ‘Toyota Hilux Revo BEV’ is expected to enter production around the middle of the decade. The production version could be part of the ninth generation of the long-running one-ton pickup popular in Asia, Oceania, and Africa.
While most electric pickup trucks in the U.S. come in dual-cab form, the Hilux Electric has a single-cab body. Toyota should offer a dual-cab version when releasing the model on the market, though. There’s no doubt the company will target Europe initially, where EV transition is accelerating the fastest, but it’s far behind local competitors. Customers may expect a WLTP range of at least 225 miles from the Ford Ranger Electric rival and a DC fast-charging time of about 30 minutes.
The U.S. would get a Toyota Tacoma Electric instead of the Toyota Hilux Electric. Previewed by the Toyota Pickup EV concept in 2021, the American electric pickup truck will likely be a part of the fourth-gen Tacoma in the coming years.
Toyota Corolla Cross Hydrogen
Another interesting tech demonstrator at the event is the Toyota Corolla Cross H2 Concept, a hydrogen-powered variant of the compact crossover. Unlike the Toyota Mirai that’s available in the U.S., the Toyota Corolla Cross Hydrogen doesn’t have a fuel cell system. It uses a modified version of the 1.6-liter DITC three-cylinder engine, with hydrogen coming from tanks installed under the floor.
When Toyota introduced the Corolla Cross Hydrogen in December 2022, it said that it is approximately 40% ready to commercialize such products. Clearly, there is an intention to launch affordable hydrogen-powered models, but there’s still a long way to go in development and many other aspects involved in the process.
Just back on March 8, 2023, the GR Corolla Hydrogen (ORC ROOKIE GR Corolla H2 Concept) with the same powertrain technology caught fire because hydrogen leaked from a gaseous hydrogen pipe in the engine compartment. Toyota Gazoo Racing released a statement saying a piping joint loosened because of vehicle vibration, and that caused the mishap, not the fuel change from gaseous hydrogen to liquid hydrogen. Still, it’s evident that there’s a lot to learn.
Peugeot 408 Plug-in Hybrid
The Peugeot 408 is a slick-looking crossover that mixes elements of a sedan and a fastback coupe with some SUV styling. It’s a gasoline model, with plug-in hybrid technology available optionally. A pure electric variant, possibly called ‘Peugeot e-408,’ has received the green signal for launch and will debut in a few months.
Pictured here is the Peugeot 408 Plug-in Hybrid that pairs a 1.6-liter turbocharged gas engine with an electric motor (front) integrated into an 8-speed automatic gearbox. This combination results in up to 165 kW (221 hp) of power and up to 360 Nm (266 lb.-ft.) of torque. A 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint takes as low as 7.8 seconds, and the top speed is as high as 233 km/h (145 mph). The electric motor of the 408 Plug-in Hybrid gets its energy from a 12.5 kWh battery pack, which allows pure electric driving for up to 40 miles (WLTP, UK). In the UK, the 408 Plug-in Hybrid’s prices start at GBP 31,050.
Back in February 2019, when Groupe PSA hadn’t merged with FCA to form Stellantis, it planned to launch Peugeot in the U.S. and Canada. Now under Stellantis’ ownership, there’s no hope for the Lion brand to make it to either market.