New BYD Seal U plug-in hybrid SUV to take on popular SUVs


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Coming to launch in Australia, the plug-in version will tackle the likes of the Toyota RAV4.

BYD introduced three models in its first year and continues to expand its offerings. The brand unveiled the BYD Seal U at the 2024 Geneva Motor Show.

So far, BYD has exclusively offered pure-electric cars in its lineup, including the Dolphin hatchback, Atto 3 SUV, and the Seal, which competes with the Tesla Model 3. The Seal U, however, takes a different approach, being available exclusively with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. This positions it as a potential rival to popular mid-size SUVs such as the Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Qashqai, and Kia Sportage.

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Named the Seal U DM-i, the vehicle utilizes BYD’s Super DM (Dual Mode) Technology, prioritising electric motor drive with less reliance on the petrol engine to enhance fuel consumption. The European WLTP fuel economy and emissions figures for the Seal U are yet to be confirmed.

The Seal U DM-i is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, a single electric motor, and an 18.3kWh lithium-ion ‘blade’ battery, providing an electric-only range of over 96 kilometres on the old NEDC test cycle. Official WLTP figures are pending confirmation.

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Unlike many plug-in hybrids, the Seal U supports both AC and DC charging, enabling a 30 to 80 per cent battery recharge in 35 minutes at up to 18kW. Additionally, it features a V2L (vehicle-to-load) socket for powering external devices from the car’s battery.

Designed with BYD’s ‘Ocean Aesthetics’ design language, the Seal U includes LED headlights, 19-inch alloy wheels, and a full-width rear light bar with LED tail-lights. The interior boasts a 15.6-inch rotating touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, dual wireless charging pads, a panoramic sunroof, vegan leather upholstery, and various driver assistance systems.

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