Stars of The British Motor Show 2023 -BYD SEAL (Exclusive UK Debut)
One of the most compelling aspects of the EV revolution has been watching the unfolding battle between legacy manufacturers and the increasing numbers of Chinese disruptor brands threatening to steal a march on them.
Build Your Dreams (BYD) is one such newcomer.
If the name is unfamiliar, then the influence of this vast company should not be. BYD has a 600,000-strong workforce spread across the globe and supplies electric batteries for legions of buses, trains, cars, solar panels and mobile devices.
In fact, there is a high likelihood the device you are reading this article on uses a BYD battery, because they supply one in five mobile devices on Earth.
As a result, this isn’t some ‘tiny start-up taking on the establishment’ story. If it was a David versus Goliath tale, it would be legacy brands like VW and Mercedes holding the slingshot.
With that being said, BYD is relatively unproven in the Western automotive industry, and needs to win over customers from more familiar car makers. Creating a car which is demonstrably better than anything Western would be the best place to start.
This brings us neatly onto the BYD Seal.
Alright, stop laughing at the back.
The name might conjure images of rubbery-looking sea life, but its intentions are deadly serious.
This is being positioned as a direct rival for the Tesla Model 3, which is a bit like having your first boxing fight against Tyson Fury.
Thankfully, BYD has come prepared. As you would expect of a business that supplies a vast amount of electric infrastructure around the world, BYD designs and builds every element of the vehicle in-house. This includes the semiconductors, seat upholstery, and the lithium-iron phosphate battery.
What’s more, the Seal uses BYD’s proven e-Platform 3.0, so it isn’t exactly starting from scratch.
For propulsion, you can either spec a 308bhp single motor rear-wheel drive variant, or an all-guns-blazing 523bhp four-wheel drive flagship. The latter is good for a 0-62mph time of
3.8sec, and a top speed of 112mph.
Whichever model you go for, the Seal comes equipped with an 82kWh battery that delivers a claimed 354 and 323 miles of range, respectively.
Inside, the BYD Seal has all the tech accessories you would expect of an electric car in this segment, with a 15.6-inch touchscreen dominating the swooping dashboard, as well as a bevy of gadgets like a lane-change guidance system, an efficiency-boosting heat-pump and a vehicle-to-load charging system.
The cabin is pleasantly light and airy, with a full-length panoramic roof giving the BYD a Tardis-like ability to feel larger than it actually is. This belies the 402-litre rear boot space and 53-litre front boot.
This all sounds promising, but how much does it cost?
Well, BYD hasn’t officially stated any prices yet, but expect it to cost around £40K for the single-motor model and just under £50K for the dual-motor. In other words, about the same as its Western competitors.
Deliveries are expected to start this summer, but if you are desperate to have a poke around this exciting Tesla rival then you can visit the BYD stand at The British Motor Show – between 17-20 August.