BYD Seagull hatchback to follow the Seal/Atto 4 [Update]

  • The e-Platform 3.0 with the Blade battery could be the common thread through the Ocean-inspired family
  • Seagull should be primarily for China, slotting beneath the Dolphin, challenging regional cars
  • Chinese reports claim that the Seagull is planned in sodium-ion and lithium-ion battery variants
  • The four-seat hatchback gets a 55 kW motor, 130 km/h top speed & 16-inch wheels as per MIIT declaration

Update: ‘Interior’ section 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 information posted on Chinese portals reveals several details about these future BYD electric car models, and recent images have brought forth details on their size and design.

The BYD Seagull, smaller than the Dolphin, would be a model that belongs to the A00+ (small) segment that would primarily focus on the Chinese market. Here’s what we know about BYD’s next big launch:

Design

In a batch of images of upcoming vehicles that it released on January 11, 2023, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) revealed the exterior of the BYD Seagull. The electric city car has 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 car’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 right 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 seem to be 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 pronounced roof spoiler. There’s also a gloss-black trim between the rear combination lamps.

Interior

Spy pictures have revealed the interior of the BYD Seagull. Apparently, the design of the upcoming electric hatchback is similar to the Dolphin and Seal, especially the former. 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 compact, free-standing display.

Like the Dolphin, the Seagull has two circular 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 (12.8-inch) unit, although we don’t know if it has a swivel function. The cylindrical panel of physical controls (including the gear selector) also comes from the bigger model. Basically, BYD just took the Dolphin’s dashboard, center console, and other elements and adapted them as per the smaller dimensions of the Seagull.

The Seagull features two places to place a smartphone, one below the touchscreen infotainment system and one further below, in front of the two cupholders. If not the upper unit, at least the bottom unit should include a wireless smartphone charging pad. The electric city car features a dual tone beige & black color scheme and quilted seat covers as well.

Specifications

According to the specifications that China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released on January 11, 2023, 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).

According to a Yiche report published on November 30, 2022, the BYD Seagull will be available with two types of batteries: sodium-ion and lithium-ion. The unique sodium-ion chemistry could deliver a range of around 300 km (186 miles), whereas the conventional lithium-ion battery could deliver a range of around 400 km (249 miles).

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).

AspectBYD Seagull Specification
Length3,780 mm
Width1,715 mm
Height1,540 mm
Wheelbase2,500 mm
Front Track1,500 mm
Rear Track1,500 mm
Front Overhang655 mm
Rear Overhang625 mm
Tires165/65R15 or 175/55R16
Approach Angle17°
Departure Angle27°
Curb Weight1,160 kg/1,240 kg
Gross Weight1,460 kg/1,540 kg
Power55 kW
Top Speed130 km/h
BYD Seagull specifications (Source: China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology)

Price & Release Date

Positioned below the BYD Dolphin, the BYD Seagull (codename: BYD EQ) will be targeted at EV customers with a small budget, or customers adding a secondary car to their garage.

BYD could launch the Seagull in China as early as Q2 2023 (April-June 2023), with prices starting at CNY 60,000 (EUR 8,210) for the standard-range (sodium-ion) variant and CNY 80,000 (EUR 10,947) for the long-range (lithium-ion) variant. The new entry-level EV will challenge regional models like the Changan BenBen E-Star, Leap T03, Chery Wujie Pro, and the upcoming Wuling Bingo.

Gauging by its dimensions, BYD has designed the Seagull specifically or at least primarily for China. We don’t expect it to go 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.

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 723.54 billion (USD 106.98 billion) according to Google Finance data as of January 17, 2023. 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: China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology