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BYD is testing on Canberra roads and will launch the cheapest electric car in Australia

by Xiao Lai 03 Jul 2023

Recently, have people in the Barton area seen a small electric hatchback? The vehicle has colorful stickers on the hood and strange markings elsewhere.

That vehicle is the BYD Dolphin, which is set to become the cheapest electric car (EV) in Australia.

Chinese automaker BYD is well-known in the local market for its ATTO3 model. While the Dolphin is slightly more expensive than its competitor, the MG, it comes with more features at a price of AUD 47,381.

BYD conducted testing of its new hatchback in Canberra earlier this month, and the model started accepting orders last week. The first batch of vehicles is expected to be delivered later this year.

The base model of the BYD Dolphin (Dolphin Dynamic) starts at AUD 38,890, making it AUD 100 cheaper than the upcoming MG4 hatchback planned to launch in mid-August.

Both cars offer similar driving ranges, with the Dolphin expected to have a range of 340 kilometers and the base model of the MG4 having a range of 350 kilometers.

Electric vehicle owners in Canberra will be relieved of road fees as the ACT government exempts local EV buyers from stamp duty and the first two years of registration fees. However, the BYD Dolphin is priced even more affordably in Queensland, where the state government provides a AUD 6,000 rebate for EV owners purchasing vehicles priced below AUD 68,000. This brings the suggested retail price down to AUD 32,890.

With these vehicles' low prices, electric cars will compete directly with petrol cars for the first time. The BYD Dolphin's competitors will include base models of the Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30, and Mazda3, all priced below AUD 29,000. However, the BYD Dolphin offers the option of a Barbie pink interior.

According to EVDirect, BYD's dealer in Australia, the Dolphin is the "most affordable and quality electric vehicle Australia has ever seen."

CEO Luke Todd stated, "In some cases, it's cheaper than a similar petrol car, which is unheard of."

The base model of the Dolphin comes with features such as electrically adjustable heated front seats, a panoramic glass roof, and various active safety and driving assistance systems, making it an unprecedented offering at this price.

Battery sizes range from 44.9 kWh for the Dynamic model to 60.48 kWh for the Premium model (priced at AUD 44,890). BYD has also confirmed that a limited-edition model called the Dolphin Sport will be available in Australia next year.

Todd said, "Our popular hatch has quality features, quality design, and quality speed—sub-seven-second acceleration to 100 kilometers per hour, for just AUD 49,890."

BYD's reputation in Australia is primarily built on its batteries. The Chinese company has a 30-year history of battery production, and its latest technology, the "blade battery," is considered one of the safest in the world. The blade battery not only provides more power in a smaller space but is also less prone to catching fire in severe vehicle damage tests compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries.

The battery pack uses lithium iron phosphate as its core material, which does not get excessively hot or release oxygen during penetration, a common cause of other electric vehicle lithium-ion batteries catching fire and burning for days. BYD's testing involved shooting nails into the battery pack, simulating severe vehicle accidents, with the most common outcome being a maximum surface temperature increase of 60 degrees Celsius.

Furthermore, the "blade battery" technology doubles the storage capacity, resulting in longer driving ranges and extended lifespans (said to exceed 5,000 charge-discharge cycles). This translates to charging once a week for 100 years.

The vehicle enjoys a warranty period of six years or 150,000 kilometers, while the battery has a warranty period of eight years or 160,000 kilometers.

There are also reports that BYD plans to open an experience center near the Phillip area, close to a 7-11 convenience store. This center aims to enhance the user experience and provide information about vehicle support technologies, such as what happens after the battery reaches the end of its life, and answer buyers' questions.

However, it is worth noting that this plan appears to have failed, as the local experience center is operated by Janrule Automotive Group and is located at 4 O'Brien Place in Gungahlin.

In addition, a four-door BYD Seal sedan is set to debut in Australia later this year.Click Here

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