BYD to launch affordable electric hatchback in China

BYD is preparing to launch a new electric small car in China. The BYD Seagull is smaller and cheaper than the BYD Dolphin and priced at between 60,000 to 100,000 yuan – equivalent to around 8,200 to 13,700 euros (or $8,860 – $14,770 US). The small electric car is to be launched on the Chinese market later this year.

The plans were leaked to Chinese media when BYD submitted an application for approval for the Seagull with the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) with both technical data and images. The aesthetics of the small electric car will be based on the Seal electric sedan and the Dolphin electric compact car, which all form the so-called Ocean series.

The registration document shows that the Seagull will have an output of 55 kW (compared to 70 kW for the Dolphin) and will be fitted with an LFP battery with an as-yet-unknown capacity is said to be made by BYD company FinDreams. According to Car News China, the Seagull is to sport several battery options starting at 30.7 kWh, much like the Dolphin. A few months ago, there were rumours saying that sodium-ion batteries could be used in some versions of the Dolphin, the Seagull and the Qin EV, but BYD refuted the rumours at the time.

According to the application documents, the Seagull will measure 3,780 x 1,715 x 1,540 mm and will have a wheelbase of 2.5 meters. This makes it 345 mm shorter, 55 mm narrower, and 30 mm lower than the BYD Dolphin. The unladen weight is expected to be between 1,160 and 1,240 kilograms. The tires will be 15- or 16-inches. Despite the very compact design, Car News China writes of a five-door body with four seats and a striking design with narrow-cut headlights, a hatchback and a roof spoiler.

In the leaked photos in BYD’s application, two of the photos show two different names for the vehicle, 海豚Q (Dolphin Q) and 海豚Mini (Dolphin Mini), which suggests the Chinese automotive giant is not yet certain of the name to be used for its new small electric car.

Whether the Seagull, like Seal and Dolphin, is based on BYD’s electric platform 3.0 has not been explicitly mentioned. While BYD’s electric cars Han and Tang are also available as plug-in hybrids in markets outside Europe, the company’s purely electric platform 3.0 does not support combustion engines. BYD’s electric platform 3.0 relies on a system voltage of 800 volts and the in-house LFP cell chemistry. In the case of the BYD Seal, the electric platform is kitted out with the company’s new cell-to-body approach, which integrates the battery directly into the vehicle body.

The registration application on file with the MIIT indicates that production of the Seagull electric car will begin shortly and launch to market before the end of the year.