BYD, an electric car company that’s fairly new to the Australian and New Zealand markets, has revealed that its next car, a hatchback called the Dolphin, will be the cheapest electric car in Australia… By $100.
Now, there’s a timeline to this. Firstly, back at the start of June 2023, the New Zealand pricing of the Dolphin was revealed – and it was a bit more expensive than what we were expecting.
Then, on June 14, Luke Todd, the CEO of EV Direct, the company that handles the distribution of BYD vehicles in Australia, took to LinkedIn to tease the reveal of the car in Australia. Todd labelled the car “Australia’s most affordable, high-quality electric vehicle of all time”.
And then, on June 19, rival car company MG revealed that its new electric car, the MG4 Excite 51, would be the cheapest electric car in Australia – at $38,990. Keep in mind that MG and BYD have a history of undercutting each other – the BYD Atto 3 was slated to be the cheapest EV in Australia in 2022, up until the MG ZS EV Excite undercut the price.
And now… The BYD Dolphin has stolen the show. The entry-level BYD Dolphin will officially cost $38,890 in Australia (before on-road costs), undercutting the MG4 Excite 51 by a whopping $100. All paint options are set to be included in the price.
The car was launched on June 22 at Sea World on the Gold Coast by Queensland Minister for Transport Mark Bailey.
A 45kW battery is included with 340km WLTP range (10km below the Excite 51). It produces 70kW/180Nm, substantially lower than the power produced by the MG Excite 51: 125kW/250Nm (as pointed out by Chasing Cars).
The car includes a maximum of 1,310L storage space, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay (no Android Auto right now), an in-built maps app, and wireless phone charging. The car’s infotainment system is a 12.8-inch touchscreen. There’s also a panoramic moonroof, voice recognition, and heated seats.
Another model is likely to be available with a bigger battery, as this is the case overseas.
Prospective buyers will be able to purchase the car through BYD starting on June 22. Deliveries are expected to begin in Q4 of 2023.
BYD’s plan for Australia
BYD has a very ambitious plan to sell 9,000 cars per month in the Australian market.
Drive spoke to the head of local distribution (via EVDirect), Luke Todd, about upcoming vehicles and plans for the market down under. It’s a number of vehicles sold per month that has never been achieved by a carmaker in Australia before, and is set to be comprised of total vehicle sales, not just the BYD Atto 3.
With five BYD vehicles planned for release in Australia over the next two years, including the Atto 3 (an SUV), the Dolphin (a hatchback), the Seal (a sedan) and two as of yet not revealed models (including another SUV and a ute), this is quite the goal, but Todd says that BYD has the capacity to achieve this, with battery creation and dedicated vehicle manufacturing plants in China.
“Within 12 months, we’ll have three models on the (Australian) market being delivered with production capability of 3,000 vehicles per model per month – that’s 9,000 vehicles per month,” Todd told Drive.
“Our production capability of 9,000 vehicles per month means we are very confident that’ll be leading the charge.”
During May 2023, The BYD Atto 3 was reportedly the second-best-selling EV in Australia.
BYD Australia, explained
BYD is a Chinese automaker and stands for “Build Your Dreams”. In the past, the company has built hybrids in the Chinese market, but is pivoting to all-electric as it takes vehicles overseas. The company started as a battery and solar cell manufacturer and later moved into vehicle development.
In Australia, BYD has released the Atto 3, an SUV. Every vehicle planned for Australian sale so far is electric:
- The BYD Dolphin hatchback is available for order from June 22, 2022
- The BYD Seal Sedan has been confirmed to follow the Dolphin
- After these three vehicles, BYD plans to release a bigger SUV and a ute in Australia.
BYD is an interesting carmaker to keep an eye on in Australia, because it’s entering the electric vehicle market at a lower-than-usual price. With a price below $50,000, the BYD Atto 3 competes directly with the MG ZS EV.
The BYD battery
The range of the BYD Atto 3 is also impressive — 345km (WLTP) on the standard range model and 420km (WLTP) on the extended range model.
“The technology inside the battery (of the BYD Atto 3), which is proprietary, it’s called the Blade Battery, is really what the heart and the secret component is to why, at the price point, we can deliver vehicles that have such a range,” Luke Todd, the CEO of EVDirect, told Gizmodo Australia.
“BYD has been manufacturing batteries for more than 20 years. They’re a major supplier to most of the world’s mobile phone battery supplies so BYD started as a battery company, but then evolved into electric buses, transportation, a whole range of other things.
“There’s no nickel or cobalt in the latest BYD battery, they will have a life cycle of more than one million kilometres, underpinned by a seven-year 160,000km warranty. The reality is that the batteries will far exceed that range.”
EVDirect is partnering with Eagers Automotive to show BYD vehicles at dealerships. Here’s where they are:
- New South Wales: Cardiff, Castle Hill, Darlinghurst, Sutherland
- Queensland: Indooroopilly, Robina
- Victoria: Brooklyn, Dandenong
- ACT: Canberra
- South Australia: Medindie
- Tasmania: Hobart
- Western Australia: West Perth
If you’re interested in BYD, you can currently order the Atto 3 exclusively on the BYD Australia Website. The BYD Dolphin is being teased on the website at the time of writing.
This article has been updated since it was originally published.