BYD undercuts Tesla Model 3 with its new electric sedan

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

BYD introduces a new, cheaper electric Seal sedan

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

BYD introduced the “Seal Honor Edition” on its Weibo account, a new, cheaper version of its Tesla Model 3 rival electric sedan.

The new BYD Seal starts at around $25,000 (179,800 yuan), about 5% cheaper than the previous model. It is available in five versions, 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, offering a CLTC range of 550 km (342 miles) and 700 km (435 miles) respectively .

The top 4WD performance version includes an 82.5 kWh battery for a CLTC range of up to 650 km (404 miles).

BYD Seal Honor Edition trim Range
Elite 550km
179,800 yuan
Premium 550km
192,800 yuan
Premium 700 kilometers
202,800 yuan
Performance 700 kilometers
219,800 yuan
4WD performance 650 kilometers
249,800 yuan
Price and range of the new BYD Seal electric sedan

Many of the specifications remained the same, but BYD included new configurations and features.

BYD also offers significant incentives such as 0% interest for three years, free charging (including installation), data (5 GB/month) 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 high, the new Seal is a direct competitor to the Tesla Model 3 (4,720 mm x L, 1,848 mm x W, 1,442 mm x H) in China. For comparison, the Tesla Model 3 starts at 245,900 yuan ($34,100).

(Source: BYD)

Igniting the price war with gas-powered cars

Seal’s new electric sedan comes after BYD began a “liberation battle” against gas-powered cars earlier this year by launching a series of cheaper versions of its best-selling EVs.

BYD launched the new Dolphin Honor Edition last month, starting at $13,900 (99,800 yuan), a major milestone with a price below 100,000 yuan.

BYD-new-EV platform
BYD Dolphin EV Honor Edition (Source: BYD)

The automaker followed this up by cutting prices for its best-selling Atto 3 electric SUV, which now starts at $16,600 (119.80 yuan) in China.

Recently, BYD launched its cheapest electric car yet, the new Seagull (Dolphin Mini overseas), starting at just $9,700 (69,800 yuan).

BYD's new EV
BYD Seagull (Dolphin Mini) testing (Source: BYD)

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

Terry Woychowski, a former GM executive and current president of automotive at Caresoft Global, said BYD’s new electric car could be a “tone call for the rest of the industry.” In a recent CNBC interview, Woychowski called the new Seagull “a major event” as automakers race to keep pace.

BYD's new EV
BYD Dolphin Mini (Seagull) launch in Brazil (Source: BYD)

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

“What they did was very well done,” Woychowski explained. “It was done efficiently.”

Electrek’s Take

At the moment, it seems like BYD is launching a different cheaper model every other day. However, the Seal is an important model. It is one of the few fully electric sedans in the world. And with a starting price of less than $25,000, BYD looks set to capture even more market share from older automakers.

Ford CEO Jim Farley called BYD’s new Seagull “damn good,” and warned rivals if they can’t compete with the Chinese, “20 to 30% of your sales are at risk.”

Ford, like many older automakers, is shifting to focus on smaller, more affordable models to compete.

Source: CnEVPost, BYD Weibo

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