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Chinese EV Giant BYD Sets Sail: Unveils Maiden Car Carrier for European Markets

BYD’s latest venture, the BYD EXPLORER NO 1, set sail from the Yantai Port Ro-Ro terminal on January 11, embarking on a journey to revolutionize the transportation of domestically manufactured cars to Europe. The vessel, an impressive feat of engineering, was meticulously crafted at the renowned Yantai CIMS Raffles Shipyard, reaching completion at the tail end of 2023.

A Glimpse into BYD EXPLORER NO 1

This pioneering car carrier boasts a colossal size, measuring 199.9 meters in length and 38 meters in width, with a design draft of 8.6 meters. Registered in Liberia and operated by Zodiac Maritime, the vessel has a carrying capacity of 7000 vehicles and a deadweight tonnage (dwt) of 19,800. The ship’s design incorporates cutting-edge features for energy efficiency, including aerodynamic and hydrodynamic optimizations along the hull line.

Navigating the High Seas

The maiden voyage took BYD EXPLORER NO 1 from Yantai to Shenzhen Xiaomo Port, where it loaded trucks before embarking on its journey to Europe. Equipped with two large liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanks, the vessel can cover an impressive 15,800 miles, cruising at a speed of 19 knots.

The Road Ahead

While BYD refers to the BYD EXPLORER NO 1 as the first in its fleet, the company has remained tight-lipped about any plans for future expansion. However, earlier Chinese media reports hinted at potential orders for at least one sister ship and an additional four vessels.

BYD’s Global EV Impact

BYD’s foray into the global shipping arena comes on the heels of an exceptional year for the company, with EV sales surpassing three million units in 2023. This achievement has solidified BYD’s position among the top 10 global EV manufacturers. The company, in line with other major Chinese automakers, is leveraging charter vessels to boost its international exports.

In a similar vein, the joint venture between SAIC, GM, and Wuling Automobiles marked its entry into the Mexican market earlier this month by shipping 500 compact SUVs as part of its inaugural export from China.

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