BYD plans range expansion with £25k supermini and sub-£35k Tesla Model 3 rival

Mike Askew

19 Oct 2022

Chinese manufacturer BYD is ramping up plans to bring a bigger range of its electric cars to the UK. The brand is expected to introduce two new models in 2023, a mid-size saloon to rival – and undercut – the best-selling Tesla Model 3, and a large supermini that could potentially be one of the most affordable electric cars on sale. 

Reinforcing its European ambitions, BYD showcased its new Seal saloon at the Paris Motor Show and confirmed that it planned to introduce the model to mainland Europe next year with a new name – Atto 4. 

Equipped with either a 61kWh or 82kWh battery, the 4.8 metre Atto 4 is aimed squarely at the Tesla Model 3. Built on the same underpinnings as the previously announced Atto 3 SUV, the 4 is 4,800mm long and will come with three drivetrain options; rear-wheel drive with 201bhp and 310bhp and dual motor all-wheel drive with 523bhp. BYD has yet to confirm any WLTP figures for the 4, but claims that the three models can do between 342 miles and 435 miles under Chinese testing conditions - which are notoriously optimistic. The Atto 4 will be able to charge at speeds of up to 150kW, which means a 10-80% charge will take around 40 minutes for the larger battery models.  

BYD Seal is likely to wear Atto 4 badges when it arrives in Europe next year with a £35,000 entry level price

In terms of price, the Chinese-market Seal sells for the sterling equivalent of £30,000 for the entry-level 61kWh battery model. The long range versions are expected to be in the region of £35,000. Expect European prices to be higher due to shipping costs and higher VAT rates. 

BYD has also hinted that its smaller, more affordable Dolphin model may be part of its 2023 plans. Launched in China last year, the Dolphin is BYD’s cheapest electric car and has the potential to be a big seller in Europe. Available with a 31kWh or 45kWh battery pack, the Dolphin (which is likely to be rebadged Atto 2 for Europe), offers driving ranges of between 187 miles and 250 miles. However, both figures relate to NEDC test cycles rather than WLTP, so are likely to be lower when the Atto 2 is officially launched. 

Pretty in pink? BYD Dolphin model could be a big seller in the UK - especially if BYD can introduce it for under £25,000

BYD has already confirmed a market launch in Australia in 2023, which would indicate that a right-hand drive version is part of the brand’s plans. Although prices have yet to be confirmed for the Australian market, BYD’s importer has suggested that the range will start from around $40,000 AUS. A straight conversion to UK sterling puts the price at around £25,000 for the cheapest 31kWh model. 

Earlier this summer, BYD confirmed that its mid-size hatch, badged Atto 3, would be the first model to arrive next year, announcing that a deal had been struck with dealer group Pendragon to distribute it and take on all aftercare for vehicles. 

Expect high equipment levels when BYD introduces the Atto 2 to the UK market

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