BYD’s affordable Seagull EV poised to arrive as the UK’s cheapest electric car

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BYD’s affordable Seagull EV poised to arrive as the UK’s cheapest electric car


BYD’s most affordable Seagull EV, starting under $10,000 (69,800 yuan), could arrive as the UK’s cheapest electric car. Although BYD has yet to confirm plans, UK leaders see a market for the low-cost “Lamborghini Mini” EV.

BYD launched the new Seagull EV in China last month. Its starting price is ultra-affordable starting at $9,700 (69,800), which is about 5% cheaper than the previous model.

The new BYD Seagull has 30.08 kWh and 38.88 kWh Blade Battery options, good for 190 mi (305 km) and 252 mi (405 km) CLTC range, respectively. BYD launched the new Seagull in China with three trims: Active, Free, and Flying, priced between 69,800 yuan ($9,700) and 85,800 yuan ($12,000).

BYD’s base Seagull model features a 190 mi (305 km) CLTC range, a 10.1″ rotating center screen, DiLink intelligent connection, and more, all for less than $10,000.

Despite the affordable price tag, BYD’s Seagull does not feel like a “cheap” EV, according to reports.

The Seagull has earned the nickname “Lamborghini Mini,” local reports claim, as former Lamborghini designer Wolfgang Egger led the EV’s design.

BYD's-Seagull-cheapest-EV
BYD Dolphin Mini (Seagull) launch in Brazil (Source: BYD)

Ford’s CEO Jim Farley called the low-cost EV “pretty damn good” during a conference in February, warning rivals will need to catch up. Farley highlighted that BYD can offer the EV at an ultra-low starting price while still earning a profit.

Terry Woychowski, former GM executive and president of automotive at Caresoft Global, told CNBC that BYD’s Seagull EV could be a “clarion call” for the industry.

Caresoft inspects every part of a vehicle (digitally and physically) to look for inefficiencies for its clients. After studying BYD’s Seagull, Woychowski said, “What they did do is done very well,” adding that it exceeded its quality and reliability expectations.

BYD-Seagull-EV
BYD Seagull (Dolphin Mini) testing (Source: BYD)

BYD mulls launching its cheapest Seagull EV in the UK

After launching the Seagull EV, or Dolphin Mini as it’s known overseas, in Brazil starting at $20,000 (99,800 BRL), BYD’s cheapest EV could land in the UK.

According to Autocar, BYD’s UK Marketing manager, Mark Blundell, said he was “keen to have” the Seagull launch in the region.

Blundell explained that there’s clear space for it below the Dolphin model. He added that BYD’s plan is to “make electric cars accessible to all,” and lower prices are the main focus.

BYD-Seagull-cheapest-EV
BYD Seagull (Source: BYD)

“EVs shouldn’t just be for well-off people,” BYD’s UK marketing boss said as demand for affordable electric cars continues rising.

BYD aims to expand in the UK, with plans to reach 60 dealers by this summer, up from 21 currently. The expansion would extend BYD’s footprint to England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

BYD Seagull Honor Edition trim Starting Price Range
(CLTC)
Active $9,700
(69,800 yuan)
190 mi
(305 km)
Free $10,500
(75,800 yuan)
190 mi
(305 km)
Flying $12,000
(85,800 yuan)
252 mi
(405 km)
BYD Seagull Honor Edition prices and range in China

If launched, BYD’s Seagull would likely be the cheapest EV in the UK. BYD sold over 300,000 fully electric vehicles globally in Q1, up 13% over last year. BYD’s low-cost Seagull was the third top selling EV.

However, it was not enough to fend off Tesla from taking back its title of global EV leader with 386,810 EVs delivered in the first three months of 2024.

Electrek’s Take

BYD’s low-cost EVs are promoting automakers to shift plans as they look to prevent falling further behind.

Ford is developing a low-cost EV platform as it looks to rival Tesla and Chinese automakers like BYD. According to reports, the first models based on the platform will be a smaller electric pickup and SUV, with starting prices around $25,000.

Ford’s CFO John Lawler said at the BofA Auto Summit last month, “The game will not be fought and won with larger vehicles.” Instead smaller, more affordable EVs will prove to be the winners in the long run.

Several automakers including GM’s Chevy, Volvo, Kia, Hyundai, and others are planning to introduce more affordable next-gen EVs.

Meanwhile, BYD declared a “liberation battle” against gas-powered vehicles with a series of low-cost EVs and PHEVs as it aims to take even more market share.

New reports suggest BYD’s next-gen platform could slash costs even further, which could put more pressure on automakers to respond.

Can legacy automakers keep up with BYD? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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