BYD undercuts Tesla Model 3 with its new electric sedan

Global EV leader BYD launched a new version of its Seal electric sedan Monday, with starting prices around $25,000 (179,800 yuan). The Seal Honor Edition is BYD’s latest lower-priced EV to roll out, fueling its “liberation battle” against gas-powered cars.

BYD introduces new, lower-priced Seal electric sedan

After announcing its 7 millionth new energy vehicle (NEV) rolled off the assembly line Monday, BYD had more big news.

BYD introduced the “Seal Honor Edition” on its Weibo account, a new, lower-priced version of its Tesla Model 3 rivaling electric sedan.

The new BYD Seal starts at about $25,000 (179,800 yuan), about 5% cheaper than the previous model. It’s available in five trims priced between 179,800 yuan ($25,000) and 249,800 yuan ($35,000).

Based on the e-platform 3.0, the new EV is offered with 61.4 kWh or 82.5 kWh BYD Blade battery packs, providing 550 km (342 mi) and 700 km (435 mi) CLTC range, respectively.

The top-of-the-line 4WD performance version includes an 82.5 kWh battery for up to 650 km (404 mi) CLTC range.

BYD Seal Honor Edition trim Range
(CLTC)
Price
Elite 550 km
(342 mi)
179,800 yuan
($25,000)
Premium 550 km
(342 mi)
192,800 yuan
($26,700)
Premium 700 km
(435 mi)
202,800 yuan
($28,100)
Performance 700 km
(435 mi)
219,800 yuan
($30,500)
4WD Performance 650 km
(404 mi)
249,800 yuan
($35,000)
New BYD Seal electric sedan price and range

Much of the specs have remained the same, but BYD included new configurations and features.

BYD is also offering significant incentives like 0% interest for three years, free charging (including installation), data (5GB/mo), and cloud service for two years.

BYD new Seal electric Sedan (Source: BYD)

At 4,800 mm long, 1,875 mm wide, and 1,460 mm tall, the new Seal is a direct rival to the Tesla Model 3 (4,720 mm x L, 1,848 mm x W, 1,442 mm x H) in China. In comparison, the Tesla Model 3 starts at 245,900 yuan ($34,100).

(Source: BYD)

Igniting the price war with gas-powered cars

The new Seal electric sedan comes after BYD kicked off a “liberation battle ” against gas-powered cars earlier this year by launching a series of lower-priced versions of its best-selling EVs.

BYD launched the new Dolphin Honor Edition last month, starting at $13,900 (99,800 yuan), a significant milestone priced under the 100,000 yuan mark.

BYD Dolphin EV Honor Edition (Source: BYD)

The automaker followed it up by slashing prices on its best-selling Atto 3 electric SUV, which now starts at $16,600 (119,80 yuan) in China.

Most recently, BYD launched its cheapest EV so far, the new Seagull (Dolphin Mini overseas), starting at just $9,700 (69,800 yuan).

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

With prices under $10,000, BYD’s new Seagull has sent shockwaves throughout the global auto industry. Automakers from all corners of the world have taken note of BYD’s new EV.

Former GM exec and current president of automotive at Caresoft Global, Terry Woychowski, said BYD’s new EV could be a “clarion call for the rest of the industry.” In a recent CNBC interview, Woychowski called the new Seagull “a significant event,” as automakers race to keep pace.

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

Caresoft, which analyzes every part of a vehicle to look for inefficiencies for its clients, said the Seagull was simple and efficiently built. Meanwhile, the quality and reliability were better than expected.

“What they did do is done very well,” Woychowski explained. “It’s efficiently done.”

Electrek’s Take

At this point, it seems like BYD is launching another lower-priced model every other day. However, the Seal is a significant model. It’s one of the few global all-electric sedans. And with a starting price under $25,000, BYD looks to take even more market share from legacy automakers.

Ford’s CEO Jim Farley called BYD’s new Seagull “pretty damn good,” warning rivals if they can’t compete with the Chinese, then “20% to 30% of your revenue is at risk.”

Ford is switching gears, like many legacy automakers, to focus on smaller, more affordable models to compete.

Source: CnEVPost, BYD Weibo

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