BYD Dolphin (EA1) is great inside and out
Audi’s former design director Wolfgang Egger keeps doing an impressive job at BYD. Long gone are the days when most Chinese cars were ugly, and the ones that looked nice were carbon copies of Western cars.
Making BYD electric cars more appealing to European customers is now the main mission that the German design director has at hand. I have been warning Euro legacy automakers for some time that BYD wants to dominate the European EV market and this can happen sooner than most people think.
BYD is actually listening to what the EV community wants. For example, I have been contacted multiple times by BYD representatives, but this almost never happens with Western automakers.
Let’s compare the dimensions of the BYD Dolphin with the popular Renault ZOE and Nissan LEAF.
BYD Dolphin (Long range version)
- Length: 4.070/4.125 mm
- Wheelbase: 2.700 mm
- Width: 1.770 mm
- Height: 1.570 mm
- Curb weight: 1.405 kg (empty vehicle)
- Segment: B
Renault ZOE ZE 50
- Length: 4.087 mm
- Wheelbase: 2.588 mm
- Width: 1.787 mm
- Height: 1.562 mm
- Curb weight: 1.502 kg (empty vehicle)
- Segment: B
Nissan LEAF e+
- Length: 4.490 mm
- Wheelbase: 2.700 mm
- Width: 1.790 mm
- Height: 1.545 mm
- Curb weight: 1.650 kg (empty vehicle)
- Segment: C
Even with its compact supermini size – that Europeans love – the BYD Dolphin has a wheelbase as long as the Nissan LEAF to maximize the interior space.
As for photos of the interior they are still scarse, but the ones that were recently released look extremely good.
The interior of the BYD Dolphin looks roomy, clean and modern. Hopefully, it’ll get a head-up display (HUD) to increase the driving safety.
The best thing about BYD is that it produces its own super safe and long-lasting LFP (LiFePO4) battery cells, therefore the production of its electric cars won’t suffer from battery supply constraints. Last month BYD sold 20.016 all-electric cars in China.
If as expected BYD sells the Dolphin globally with a price around 20.000 euros – without the need of government subsidies -, it’ll be the most important electric car we’ll see for a while. It’ll make almost every other electric car currently available look overpriced. It might even push Volkswagen to release the ID.2 with a LFP battery sooner than it is planned. Moreover, it’ll show Tesla the importance of an affordable compact electric car for the global market.
Anyway, the BYD Dolphin is the first electric car that could realistically compete with ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars in price and availability, reaching the top 10 of world’s best-selling cars. The Tesla Model 3 already reached the 16th place.
Let’s hope that BYD produces enough of them and doesn’t screw up. The Chinese automaker has a one-time opportunity to prove its value and make history before legacy automakers wake up.
BIG worry for “Old players”
“If as expected BYD sells the Dolphin globally with a price around 20.000 euros.”
I am hopeful too but that is a HUGE if.
They usually mean net prices (without VAT), so with a 20% European average VAT, this will cost 24.000 EUR.
This would be a nice price for a Kona or Zoe sized vehicle if it can go 300 km real-life.
I certainly welcome the competition for Tesla and the incumbents automakers with their high prices.
As a bicyclist, I can’t wait for the day when we get rid of the stinky and poisonous petrol/diesel cars and replace them with clean EVs.
The global price will determine how many units BYD wants to produce and sell.
At 25.000 euros it’ll sell fine, but at 20.000 euros it’ll crush competition and become an iconic electric car, earning a place in history books like the VW Beetle. This is a one-time opportunity for BYD to become a big automaker.
I’ve contacted BYD France about the EA1 and it does not seem that they plan to import it here anytime soon.
It’s a shame, they would tear the B segment sideways if they came with the EA1 in France; where B is the biggest market volume wise (shoulder to shoulder with C I believe).
They also already have a bus plant in northern France, so they already have an industrial footprint here.
Legacy OEMs need a big kick in the nuts.
Wait & Hope.
BYD says that Norway will be its gateway to Europe.
The Chinese automaker will first test its electric cars’ popularity there, before making them available in other European countries. Hopefully, this process won’t take too long.
What a waste of time.
Norway has a lot of purchasing power with a high income average.
I don’t see the EA1 being a breakthrough and making a killing in this market.
But hey, I’m no marketing expert.
Policy-wise Norway is similar to China, in both countries electric cars are currently VAT-free.
I understand what you’re saying, but I think that the BYD Dolphin can be very successful in most markets, maybe even in the USA where people are propagandized to want everything huge, from food and guns to cars.
How come BYD Dolphin is 97 kg lighter than Zoe despite LFP battery. I believe Dolphin has a higher range then Zoe. Is BYD using high tensile lighter steel or reducing unwanted extras that are in Zoe.
The larger BYD e2 built on the old platform is even lighter at 1.365 kg.
With the new platform BYD can increase the battery capacity without increasing the weight too much.
China auto sales down 12% in 2021-06, but electric vehicle sales up 140%.
Question: Is it because of chip shortage or customers are waiting for the 200 new electric vehicles that are going to be launched soon.
If the customers are waiting for electric vehicles, then its a game changer.
Well Pedro, tell BYD that when they land this car in Netherlands they can take my money and that of thousands of others over here too. All I want is a normal sized EV, not too heavy because of future roadtax (based on weight) can transport 4 peeps and some stuff in boot, realworld range around 300 and CCS capability. For the right price BYD could crush Polo/Golf, Corsa, Fiesta, Skoda, Ibiza en all other maintenance oil dependant bricks.
My thoughts exactly mate.
If BYD produces enough units, the Dolphin can become an iconic electric car and make history. By enough I mean at least one million units per year.
Considering that BYD produces its own Blade batteries I think it’s quite possible.
The only two other electric cars I see with potential to reach the one million units per year mark are the VW ID.2 (basically an electric Polo) and the future compact hatchback by Tesla. Right now BYD seems to have a head start.
The BYD EA1/dolphin will sell well in Australia. I think it will go on sale at the end of July 2021 for deliveries starting from January 2022.
Yeah, I think it will sell great in Australia and every market it’s available if BYD keeps the delivery time short.
Is BYD usually present on European motor shows? Would be nice to see them in Munich in September and check out those cars.
Personally I think international Trade Fairs and Motor shows are something “old-school”… the money companies invest there (not only in participating but also in developing specially purposed prototypes just for the shows) can easilly be passed to more effective marketing/sales efforts, namely offering more wide-spread test drives…. a test-drive with one eletric vehice is halfway to make a sale….
Just my 2 cents…
Can’t wait for this to arrive in Europe and show up the laggard OEMs here.
They sure deserve an ass kicking.
what needed is another Dacia spring….
LFP looks great in summer not gonna lie, but no cobalt means no buy, I’m having regular -30 C in winter here in Finland and our Zoe can take it like a champ (except the 12 V battery, it’s hard on it, too bad that one is still lead acid).
Hi Stefan. There is some misinformation about LFP performance under low temperatures.
NCM 622 battery cells retain 60 % of their capacity under -20º C.
At the same temperature LFP battery cells retain 80 %.
If you live in Finland you definitely should want LFP.
I opine it’s t h e most beautiful-looking compact electric car I’ve ever seen. However, if it’s going to sell here at all in the UK they absolutely h a v e to ditch the full BYD name that presently accosts its rear end and reduce it to just three initials. Apart from the critical price factor, the range will need to be a minimum of 300 miles WLTP/perform to 5 star standards in NCAP tests /gain high praise in UK motoring press road reviews. We shall see…
The EA1 is currently selling in china for about 85,000 yen, that’s about €12,000.
so with transport, duty and VAT it’s not going be over €20,000.