Earlier this month, BYD launched the updated Qin Plus EV. It comes with a high-efficiency heat pump as standard. The electric motor has been upgraded to 150 kW. So, you can get a full BEV with a heat pump, with a 150 kW motor, and with a 57.6 kWh Blade battery for just $20,350 in China. This makes it cheaper than a 2023 Toyota Corolla SE, which starts from about $20,900. A solid BEV that starts from a lower price point than an equivalent ICE sedan? The good times are finally here! Well, in China at least. But coming to a city near you in the future hopefully.
Things in China got more interesting last week, as BYD finally launched sales of the highly anticipated small hatchback, the Seagull. BYD has launched the Seagull at lower prices than previously advertised during pre-sales, when the Seagull registered 10,000 orders in just 24 hours! The Seagull was officially launched at 73,800 yuan ($10,690). Just under $11,000 for a compact hatchback with a 30.8 kWh battery is really impressive. The Seagull is based on BYD’s e-platform 3.0 and falls under the Ocean series, which also includes the Dolphin and the Seal. The Seagull has a single electric motor with 75 hp (55 kW) and 135 Nm of torque. It is front-wheel drive. It also has a top speed of 130 km/h, and acceleration from 0–50 km/h takes 4.9 seconds. The two Blade battery options of 30.08 kWh and 38.88 kWh give ranges of 305 km and 405 km (CLTC) respectively. The Seagull has fast charging, which takes 30 minutes for 80% battery. I must say it looks really good at that price.
But it gets even better when you compare it with an equivalent new ICE vehicle. The 2023 Honda Fit 1.5L ICE starts from 89,800 yuan ($12,500). Therefore, the BYD Seagull is already cheaper than this type of common ICE car. Check out some more information on the ICE Honda sales figures in China from Tycho de Feijter, who gives us an indication of how BEV cars in this segment, such as the Seagull, are set to race past ICE equivalents in terms of sales in China, the world’s largest auto market. Tycho points out that in March, 4,250 Honda Fits were sold in China. The BYD Seagull should have no problems surpassing these kinds of sales.
Here is a table illustrating some of the key features of both the BYD Seagull and the Honda Fit:
Just looking at the specs and the pricing comparisons for the BYD Qin Plus EV vs. the Toyota Corolla and now the BYD Seagull vs. the Honda Fit, we can see that the days we have been waiting for are finally here. It used be the case that basically all BEVs were more expensive than equivalent ICE cars, and besides the environmental benefits, you had to rely on the total cost of ownership over the lifetime of the vehicles giving BEVs a financial advantage. Now, however, we are starting to see BEVs being cheaper than equivalent ICE vehicles from an outright purchase point of view — in China and several other markets. As OEMs ramp up production of BEVs and increase their market presence, this will be more common in more places round the world depending on local market conditions, including import duties and taxes. The end of the ICE age is near.
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