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BYD’s $10,000 Seagull EV worrying rivals as it hits new markets

China’s BYD is launching its cheapest electric car in Europe next year. Ahead of its official debut, BYD’s $10K Seagull EV is already creating a stir among foreign rivals.

BYD is on a roll. Earlier this year, it declared a “liberation battle” against gas-powered vehicles and launched its cheapest EV, the Seagull Honor Edition.

Starting at $9,700 (69,80 yuan), BYD’s new Seagull EV is already stoking fear among rivals. Powered by BYD’s Blade batteries, the electric car is available in 30.08 kWh and 38.88 kWh models, which provide up to 190 miles (305 km) and 252 miles (405 km) CLTC range, respectively.

The low-cost EV earned the nickname “mini Lamborghini” as former Lamborghini designer Wolfgang Egger led the project.

Despite its affordable price tag, the Seagull’s interior features a 10.1″ rotating center screen with an otherwise minimalist design. Users can also interact and play media with DiLink’s intelligent network.

BYD’s Seagull is available in three trims in China. The base (Active) starts under $10K (69,800 yuan). The Free trim starts at $10,500 (75,800 yuan), while the range-topping Flying model costs $12,000 (85,800 yuan).

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BYD Seagull EV (Source: BYD)

BYD’s $10K Seagull EV causing a stir among rivals

Terry Woychowski, former GM executive and president of automotive at Caresoft Global, called BYD’s low-cost Seagull a potential “clarion call for the rest of the industry” earlier this year.

Caresoft, an engineering and consulting firm, looks at every vehicle component to determine how it can be improved for its clients. After testing the Seagull, the company said it was simple and efficiently designed. More importantly, Caresoft was surprised by the electric car’s quality and reliability.

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BYD Dolphin Mini (Seagull) launch in Brazil (Source: BYD)

“What they do is done very well,” Woychowski said, “It’s efficiently done. BYD has already launched the Seagull in overseas markets, including Brazil.

The affordable EV is creating a stir among rivals. Ford CEO Jim Farley called it a “pretty damn good” car. Meanwhile, Martin Sander, head of Ford’s European EV unit, said, “Of course, we are nervous when new competition is coming to the market.”

Sold under the name Dolphin Mini, BYD’s low-cost electric car starts at around $20,000 (99,800 BRL) in Brazil, undercutting most of the competition.

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

In Mexico, it starts at $19,780 (358,800 pesos). Although Mexico “is not great for us,” according to BYD Americas CEO Stella Li. Li explained, “In the end we found a lot of demand, a lot of heat” for the Seagull.

Now, BYD aims even higher. Next year, it will launch the Seagull EV in Europe to compete with VW, Stellantis, and others on its home turf.

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BYD Seagull EV (Source: BYD)

Despite tariffs, BYD expects the Seagull to start at less than 20,000 euros ($21,500). That’s still thousands lower than its rivals.

And BYD isn’t stopping there. The EV maker plans to launch a higher-end 25,000 euro ($27,000) electric car, according to European managing director Michael Shu. In addition, with two plants planned in the region, BYD expects to overcome the potential impacts of EU tariffs on China-made EVs.

Electrek’s Take

Although several automakers have recently announced plans to launch affordable EVs, BYD is already on top of the market.

With BYD’s $10K Seagull EV rolling out globally, rivals are bracing for the impact. Other automakers, like Ford and Kia, have shifted plans to focus on smaller, more affordable EVs to keep up with demand.

Meanwhile, although BYD is best known for its low-cost electric cars, the automaker is expanding into new segments.

BYD launched the Sea Lion 07, a mid-size electric SUV set to rival Tesla’s best-selling Model Y. Starting at $26,250 (189,800 yuan), the new electric SUV undercuts the Model Y, which starts at $34,550 (249,900) in China.

The company is also launching a series of high-end luxury vehicles under its Yangwang brand. In February, the brand launched its first electric supercar, the U9, starting at $233,400 (1,680,000 yuan).

Yangwang’s first vehicle, the U8 off-roader, made its European debut at the Geneva International Motor Show in February.

BYD also launched its first pickup, the Shark PHEV, last week in Mexico, which will rival Toyota’s best-selling Hilux and Ford’s Ranger.

Source: Bloomberg

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