First Look Review: The BYD Seagull (Dolphin Mini) is an outstanding city car!

  • City car, penned by former Audi design chief, rides on the e-Platform 3.0 with the Blade battery
  • Offered in sodium-ion and lithium iron phosphate battery variants
  • Prices start at just CNY 69,800 (USD 9,870)
  • Is also exported to Latin America as the BYD Dolphin Mini

The Dolphin and Seal were BYD’s first models to adopt the marine design concept. The BYD Seagull, smaller than the Dolphin, is a model that belongs to the A00+ (small) segment, and is currently being imported to Latin America as the BYD Dolphin Mini.

Recently I had a chance to experience the Seagull hatchback, and here’s my take on the vehicle:


The BYD Seagull is an electric city car with a sharp and purposeful design. Penned by Wolfgang Egger, the smallest of the new-generation BYD electric cars features a smooth front fascia, sweptback, wedge-shaped headlamps, and a large windshield. I noticed that 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, I noted that 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 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.

BYD Seagull dashboard
The Seagull downloads the premium interior template from the upper-class BYD Ocean models, the Dolphin and Seal. I felt that the design, quality and the feel of the cabin was from a vehicle of a higher segment.

Entry & Exit

Thanks to the Seagull’s height, getting in or out of the car wasn’t an issue despite my six-foot frame. I found that outward visibility was quite average due to the small rear windshield and the rising beltline which eats into the window glass.

Driver seat

BYD Seagull front seats

Stepping into the Seagull, I was surprised to find an electrically adjustable seat. In cars of this size or price, this is a rarity. The seat doesn’t have an adjustable headrest, but it offers good shoulder and back support, and decent thigh support. I also had ample headroom, but would have loved a sunroof to improve the feel of airiness in the cabin.

Steering wheel & cluster

The steering wheel, wrapped in synthetic leather, is a three-spoke, flat-bottomed unit with metallic inserts, a scroller on the right spoke, and a toggle switch on the left spoke. It felt quite grippy, and I was impressed with the way the cockpit was designed.

BYD Seagull steering wheel infotainment system and instrument cluster

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. An orange topstitching runs through the cabin, which I felt enhanced the sporty side of the hatch.


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 Qi 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.

Rear seat

Getting into the rear seat was easy, but with the front seat adjusted for a six-foot person, there isn’t much knee room back here. BYD designers have extended the cushions for better thigh support, and offered adjustable headrests, but I felt that the posture wasn’t comfortable, and there was just about adequate headroom. The rear bench is more suited for children. The greenhouse getting visibly sleeker toward the rear does affect the visibility through the rear windows, and your head is right next to a thick C-Pillar.

BYD Seagull rear seat
While the adjustable headrests and extended cushions are thoughtful, the Seagull doesn’t have a very spacious rear seat.


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.

BYD Seagull boot
The Seagull is available in two variants that deliver a CLTC range of up to 405 km (252 miles).

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).

AspectBase BYD Seagull SpecificationTop-end BYD Seagull Specification
Length3,780 mm (148.8 in.)3,780 mm (148.8 in.)
Width1,715 mm (67.5 in.)1,715 mm (67.5 in.)
Height1,540 mm (60.6 in.)1,540 mm (60.6 in.)
Wheelbase2,500 mm (98.4 in.)2,500 mm (98.4 in.)
Tires165/65 R15175/55 R16
Power55 kW (74 hp)55 kW (74 hp)
Torque135 Nm (100 lb.-ft.)135 Nm (100 lb.-ft.)
0-50 km/h (0-31 mph) Acceleration Time4.9 seconds4.9 seconds
Battery Pack30.08 kWh sodium-ion38.88 kWh sodium-ion
Peak Charging Input (AC/DC)6.6 kW/30 kW6.6 kW/40 kW
DC Fast-Charging Time (30-80% SoC)30 minutes30 minutes
BYD Seagull specifications (Source: BYD)


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 Wuling Bingo. The ‘Honor Edition’ is the new base variant which starts at 69,800 yuan (USD 9,870)

BYD Seagull front

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 626.99 billion (USD 88.65 billion) according to Google Finance data. As per a Reuters report from October 2023, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway holds 7.98% of BYD’s H-shares (via Reuters).

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.