BYD Seagull priced to slip under $15,000

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BYD’s new four-seat EV is smaller than the Ford Fiesta and offers up to 406km of range.

The new BYD Seagull is a tiny electric hatchback from the world’s fastest-growing car maker, promising to be one of China’s cheapest passenger EVs.

Touting compact dimensions, the four-seat Seagull sits underneath the similarly styled BYD Dolphin hatchback, which was recently confirmed for an Australian launch in 2023.

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Details are thin on the ground as the Seagull makes its debut at the Shanghai motor show, but it’s worth noting that BYD’s Australian importer has ruled out importing the Seagull in 2023.

It measures 3780mm long by 1715mm wide and 1540mm tall and looks to major on manoeuvrability and agility, with ultra-slim overhangs at each end, a short bonnet and an upright rear end.

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Stylistically, it’s an obvious relation of the Dolphin and Seal as the latest entrant into BYD’s Ocean EV family. Each was penned by BYD Group head designer Wolfgang Egger – best-known for the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, Seat Ibiza and several Audi and Lamborghini models.

Like the Atto 3 and Seal, the Seagull rides on BYD’s newest, third-generation EV platform, and while the company hasn’t yet published official specifications, reports out of China – based on leaked information – say it will offer a choice of two front-mounted single motors, one with 55kW and the other with 75kW, and a choice of two batteries: 30kWh for 306km of range or 38kWh for a highly competitive 406km.

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As for pricing, Chinese media reports the Seagull will hit the market at the equivalent of just $14,300.

Innovatively, the 30kWh version is the first BYD EV to use sodium-ion battery chemistry, which makes it cheaper to manufacturer and less vulnerable to cold temperatures, at the cost of lower energy density and a slower charging rate.

Inside, the Seagull accommodates a downsized version of its siblings’ distinctive cockpit design, complete with a 12.8-inch central touchscreen – which can swivel at the touch of a button – and a fully digital 5.0-inch gauge cluster.

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