Stars of The British Motor Show 2023 – BYD Dolphin
If you are thinking of replacing your family car with an electric alternative, then you will be blown away with the amount of choice on the market.
From the legacy manufacturers alone, there are countless different models from Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Stellantis and the like, as well as the wildly successful Tesla range.
However, arguably the most compelling narrative coming out of the electric car industry at the moment is the influx of disruptor brands from the East, which are threatening to displace the established order.
Among these companies is BYD – which is introducing its range of competitively-priced EVs to our shores this year. What’s more, all three of its latest models – the Seal saloon, Atto 3 crossover and Dolphin hatchback – are coming to The British Motor Show in August.
The Dolphin may have the hardest job of all, because it is entering a bitterly contested segment that includes everything from the VW ID.3 to the increasingly successful MG 4.
However, with the hatchback likely to be priced from around £25,000 in base form and under £30,000 with the larger batteries fitted, it has all the makings of a genuine bargain.
The Dolphin is built on the same e-Platform 3.0 as the Atto 3 and Seal, and comes equipped with a choice of 45 or 60 kWh batteries, which use BYD’s ‘Blade’ construction.
While the smaller battery option hasn’t been given a real world range estimate yet, the larger battery should be good for around 265 miles of range.
If you want to go for the entry level Active spec, then you are looking at a 93 bhp output, which climbs to 174 bhp in ‘Boost’ guise (which also comes fitted with multi-link rear suspension), and 201 bhp for Comfort or Design variants (which benefit from the larger battery pack).
Notable exterior design features include the sharp, arrow-like sculpting down the side of the car, and the latticed rear light clusters which have echoes of the Hyundai i20.
As the name suggests, the Dolphin is part of BYD’s Ocean Aesthetics range (hence the name), and is supposed to draw inspiration from a real-life dolphin. We’ll let you be the judge of that.
Inside, the scuttle is pleasingly low and the windows are large, which gives the cabin an airy feel, and is bound to make the car easy to place on the road.
Inside, there is a clear sense of quality. The air vents are nestled in huge clusters at each corner of the dashboard, and the floating central binnacle and screen are pleasingly minimalist.
Other details worth noting are the Vegan Leather seats (you can thank Tesla for that idea), the revolving central screen and the door handles, which are apparently based directly on a dolphin’s flipper. It’s something to keep the kids amused, at least.
Not that it is particularly relevant for a small family hatchback, but the BYD Dolphin will reportedly launch from 0-62 mph in 7 seconds in 60 kWh form and reach 100 mph, which technically means you can drag race Abarth 500s or Mini Cooper’s if the mood takes you.
The BYD Dolphin will officially go on sale in the UK from September, but if you want to grab a sneak peak, then you can find it at The British Motor Show between 17-20 August.