BYD Shark PHEV pickup truck heads to Mexico

Hybridization is rapidly spreading across pickup truck lines across the world and across segments, from the little Ford Maverick to the big F-150 and Toyota Tundra. Plug-ins are coming up, too, with the Ramcharger and the Jeep Gladiator 4xe on the horizon. Now you’ll also find a plug-in hybrid powertrain in the new BYD Shark, the Chinese pickup truck that’s headed for Mexico this year, and it has some intriguing specifications.

The truck is conventional in the sense that it has a body-on-frame chassis with a longitudinally-mounted engine; in this case a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder (though BYD doesn’t explicitly state whether it’s a gas or diesel engine on its consumer site). But it starts differing from there. It has double-wishbone independent suspension at all four corners. And the engine is only coupled to the front motor, with a separate motor providing drive power for the rear. It seems it operates generally like a series hybrid, though it’s possible the engine can provide some direct power for the front axle if needed. Front unit output is rated at 228 horsepower, and the rear at 201 horsepower, and BYD combines those for 430 horsepower total output. BYD also estimates a run to 62 mph at 5.7 seconds.

BYD Shark

Speaking of 62 miles, that’s the estimated electric range from the 29.6 kWh lithium-iron-phosphate battery pack that’s nestled between the frame rails. That’s on the NEDC test cycle, and range would undoubtedly be shorter on the EPA test cycle. We think a range somewhere between 30 and 40 miles would be likely if it were rated for the U.S. It also features both AC and DC fast charging with a CCS connector. BYD estimates it can go from a 30% to 80% charge in 20 minutes on the DC charger. The Shark even has vehicle-to-load functionality, so you can power your gear from the truck. 

As for other truck-related things, the Shark has no low-range with its split front and rear motors, but of course it does have the strong low-end of electric power to help make up for that. Payload capacity is 1,841 pounds, and towing is 5,512 pounds. That puts its payload a little ahead of many versions of the Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Colorado, which are similarly sized to the 214.8-inch long Shark, but towing comes up a little short to most of those pickup variants, too.

BYD Shark

Moving past truck specs, the BYD Shark certainly has the blocky, square-shouldered truck look, and the interior also looks chunky and sporty, particularly with the orange accent stitching. It has some unusual features such as the swiveling center infotainment screen and a karaoke function (enabled with an optional handheld microphone).

Pricing is fairly competitive, if perhaps on the higher end for the midsize truck segment in Mexico. Converted to U.S. dollars, the BYD Shark has base price of $53,948. For reference, the Ford Ranger starts around $49,000 and the Toyota Tacoma around $46,000 (in Mexico, converted to U.S. dollars). It’s hard to say exactly what this would mean for the U.S. if it were to come here. The U.S. is instituting ever greater tariffs on Chinese vehicles, and even if the Shark ends up being built in Mexico to avoid some of those tariffs, it likely wouldn’t receive much fro the EV and PHEV tax credits due to parts sourcing requirements. Although the leasing loophole could be an option. But even beyond that, BYD would have to set up dealer and service networks, work on brand awareness and overcome negative sentiments around Chinese products in the U.S. In other words, we’re not counting on seeing the Shark in U.S. waters anytime soon, unless it’s wearing Mexican plates.

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