Update: ‘Specifications’ and ‘Price & Release Date’ sections updated.
The Dolphin and Seal, which are now available in the Chinese market, are BYD’s first models to adopt the marine design concept. According to the Chinese media, two new marine-themed cars are to follow: BYD Sea Lion and BYD Seagull.
The BYD Seagull, smaller than the Dolphin, is a model that belongs to the A00+ (small) segment and should be mainly targeted at the company’s domestic market. Here’s what we know about BYD’s next big launch:
The BYD Seagull is an electric city car with a sharp and purposeful design. The smallest of the new-generation BYD electric cars features a smooth front fascia, sweptback, wedge-shaped headlamps, and a large windshield. BYD has used a single wiper on the Seagull, which is clever cost-cutting. A compact air intake at the bottom of the front-end serves the battery’s cooling needs; the vertical grilles on its flanks don’t have openings and contribute to nothing more than style.
On the sides, the right-side front wing houses the charging port. The rising beltline features a sharp kick behind the B-pillar, which makes the rear windows noticeably small. BYD designers have attempted to add ruggedness with gray cladding on the wheel arches and the door panels and crossover-like wheels. The flush door handles are cost-effective pull-type units (non-electrical).
At the rear, the Seagull features rectangular combination lamps with a full-width light strip right at their upper edges connecting them and a gloss-black trim between them. A pronounced roof spoiler goes well with the sporty demeanor of the electric city car, while slanted, vertically positioned light reflectors on each side of the bumper add to its funky styling. The bumper has an edgy design and mimics the look of a diffuser. Lastly, there’s a centrally positioned fog lamp at the bottom.
The interior of the BYD Seagull is similar to the Dolphin and Seal, especially the former. The dashboard looks a class above compared to typical city cars, thanks to a space- and style-focused minimalist design.
The Seagull features a dual-tone color scheme and quilted seat covers. The usage of blue color on certain areas of the dashboard, center console, and door panels gives the cabin an immediate connection with the Ocean theme of the car and lends it a sophisticated styling, which is rear in cars in this segment.
Steering wheel & cluster
The steering wheel is a three-spoke, flat-bottomed unit with metallic inserts, a scroller on the right spoke, and a toggle switch on the left spoke. The instrument cluster is a 5-inch free-standing display. Like the Dolphin, the Seagull has AC vents in the center of the dashboard, one on each side of the touchscreen infotainment system.
The touchscreen infotainment also looks similar to the Dolphin’s unit. It measures the same diagonally – 12.8 inches. Similarly, it does have a swivel function, which comes quite as a surprise, given the car’s low-end segment. The central display can be electronically rotated 90º to change its default orientation (landscape) to portrait.
The cylindrical panel of physical controls (including the gear selector) is also from the bigger model’s parts bin. There’s a large wireless smartphone charging pad on the center console. Basically, BYD designers borrowed the Dolphin’s dashboard, center console, and other elements and adapted them to the smaller dimensions of the Seagull.
It appears that the Seagull has plenty of legroom in the back, which is possible since BYD designed this car as an EV from the beginning. The sitting position looks quite comfortable, too, aided by the flat floor. The greenhouse getting visibly sleeker toward the rear does affect the visibility through the rear windows.
The BYD Seagull measures 3,780 mm in length, 1,715 mm in width, and 1,540 mm in height. It has a 2,500 mm wheelbase and a seating capacity of four people (incl. driver). The electric city car is available in two variants.
The base variant has a 30.08 kWh sodium-ion battery pack, while the top-end variant has a 38.88 kWh lithium iron phosphate battery pack. They share a permanent magnet synchronous motor that generates 55 kW (74 hp) and 135 Nm (100 lb.-ft.) of torque. Accelerating from 0 to 50 km/h (0 to 31 mph) in both variants takes 4.9 seconds.
The BYD Seagull delivers a CLTC range of 305 km (190 miles) in the base variant and 405 km (252 miles) in the top-end variant. Fast-charging its battery pack from 30 to 80% SoC, be it the 30.08 kWh sodium-ion unit or the 38.88 kWh lithium iron phosphate unit, takes 30 minutes.
Sodium-ion battery packs typically do not contain scarce minerals like lithium, cobalt, copper, etc. which are subject to frequent shortages and price volatility. Prominent battery company CATL says its first-gen sodium-ion battery cells offer a high-energy density of up to 160Wh/kg, a low fast-charging time (to 80% SoC) of 15 minutes, and energy retention of more than 90% in cold weather (-20°C).
|Aspect||Base BYD Seagull Specification||Top-end BYD Seagull Specification|
|Length||3,780 mm (148.8 in.)||3,780 mm (148.8 in.)|
|Width||1,715 mm (67.5 in.)||1,715 mm (67.5 in.)|
|Height||1,540 mm (60.6 in.)||1,540 mm (60.6 in.)|
|Wheelbase||2,500 mm (98.4 in.)||2,500 mm (98.4 in.)|
|Tires||165/65 R15||175/55 R16|
|Power||55 kW (74 hp)||55 kW (74 hp)|
|Torque||135 Nm (100 lb.-ft.)||135 Nm (100 lb.-ft.)|
|0-50 km/h (0-31 mph) Acceleration Time||4.9 seconds||4.9 seconds|
|Battery Pack||30.08 kWh sodium-ion||38.88 kWh sodium-ion|
|Peak Charging Input (AC/DC)||6.6 kW/30 kW||6.6 kW/40 kW|
|DC Fast-Charging Time (30-80% SoC)||30 minutes||30 minutes|
Price & Release Date
Positioned below the Dolphin, the BYD Seagull (codename: BYD EQ) is targeted at EV customers with a small budget, or customers adding a secondary car to their garage. The new entry-level EV challenges regional models like the Changan BenBen E-Star, Leap T03, Chery Wujie Pro, and the upcoming Wuling Bingo.
Pre-sale prices of the BYD Seagull start at CNY 78,800 (USD 11,460) and go up to CNY 95,800 (USD 13,933). The market launch of the new electric city car should happen in May 2023.
Gauging by its dimensions, BYD has designed the Seagull specifically or at least primarily for China. We don’t expect it to ship to European countries and other big markets like the Han, Tang, Seal, Atto 3, and Dolphin. Australia, for one, isn’t getting the Seagull, local publication Drive reported on January 13, 2023, with confirmation from Luke Todd, the Director of EVDirect, BYD’s official distributor in the country.
Targeting young customers, BYD offers the Seagull in funky shades that help the car stand out in the crowd. In addition to normal-looking ‘Polar Night Black’ and ‘Warm Sun White,’ the color palette includes two pop colors: Peach Powder and Budding Green. These colors, along with the small dimensions and low price, should make the Seagull an attractive choice for young customers.
Warren Buffett & BYD Auto
BYD (Build Your Dreams) has witnessed an exponential rise in the past decade. American investor Warren Buffett foresaw BYD’s growth in 2008 when he invested USD 232 million in the brand. BYD has a market cap of CNY 664.02 billion (USD 96.67 billion) according to Google Finance data. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway holds 175,559,500 or 15.99% of BYD’s H Shares (via HKEX).
The Oracle of Omaha’s early investment is undoubtedly paying massive dividends. New models like the BYD Atto 3, BYD Seal, BYD Sea Lion, and BYD Seagull are likely to spur growth as the new generation EVs pack immense domestic and export potential.
Featured Image Source: BYD