Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Corolla Killer?
David in the Dolphin at Indooroopilly. Photo by Majella Waterworth.


Toyota Corolla Killer? The BYD Dolphin!

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

With a price point of less than AU$40,000 and 410 km of range, the BYD Dolphin is not only competing with its fellow triplets (the MG 4 and the ORA Cat) but also with similarly sized ICE cars. Unfortunately, due to the fact that there are only 3 BYD Dolphins available in Australia, we were unable to test drive the model on display in Brisbane, Queensland. Despite that, the sales people told us they have had massive interest and many pre-orders. Deliveries are expected in late September.

Corolla Killer?

David in the Dolphin at Indooroopilly. Photo by Majella Waterworth.

The Dolphin was launched on June 22 at Sea World on the Gold Coast by Queensland Minister for Transport Mark Bailey. He was keen to point out that the government is offering a $6,000 rebate on the purchase price. That means that a Dolphin can be purchased for $34,000. An entry level Toyota Corolla hybrid (HEV) costs $34,980.We now have a battery electric car that is cheaper than an HEV Corolla!

The Dolphin launch was quite the party. You can watch the fun here.

The Toyota Corolla Hatchback is slightly longer and wider (about 10 mm or half an inch) than the Dolphin. Both cars have room for five passengers. Majella is 5’10” and found she had plenty of head room in the driver’s seat. Like the Tesla, the roof is higher than the door panel when you get in. The Dolphin has 345 L of boot space, or 1310 with the seats folded down.

In terms of acceleration, both cars seem about equal. The Dolphin can do zero to 100 km/h in a claimed 12.3 seconds. This is equivalent to a Toyota HEV — quoted as 12 seconds.

So, size, price, and agility seem about the same. So, why buy a Toyota HEV? Toyota still has the edge on reputation, dealership backup, and a massive advertising spend. And colours! The colours available on the Dolphin did not appeal to me — I like bold cars and usually I go for red. The Dolphin comes in muted, understated pinks, mauve, and grey. Of course, there are also black and white.

BYD is quickly catching up on reputation. Everybody seems to know about the Blade battery. It’s partnership with Eagers has eased the early delivery and servicing issues. As yet, we don’t see any advertising, but BYD probably doesn’t have to. Not having to pay for petrol is a great plus. The BYD V2L feature is something that a Corolla just can’t compete with. Both cars have many tech features — a comparison of which is beyond the scope of this article.

Here, I am concentrating on price parity. We must keep in mind that the government incentives will probably run out by the end of the year. Experience in the UK has shown that as government rebates run out, carmakers reduce prices and competition increases.

The Dolphin has a 45kW Blade battery which can produce 70 kW/180 Nm of torque. It includes Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, an in-built maps app, and wireless phone charging. The car’s infotainment system is a 12.8-inch touchscreen. There’s also a panoramic moonroof, voice recognition, and heated seats.

Gizmodo reports that Luke Todd, CEO of EVDirect, said: “Within 12 months, we’ll have three models on the (Australian) market being delivered with production capability of 3,000 vehicles per model per month – that’s 9,000 vehicles per month. Our production capability of 9,000 vehicles per month means we are very confident that’ll be leading the charge.” This would make BYD second to Toyota in vehicle sales in Australia and double the penetration of EVs in this country to almost 20%.

BYD is already making waves with sales of the Atto 3 — Australia’s second highest selling EV in July (just behind the Tesla Model Y and ahead of the Tesla Model 3). The Dolphin is tipped to make a bigger splash and dominate the smaller car market. The BYD Seal electric sedan is in Australia being tested and is likely to be released in the new year. There are rumours of a BYD ute and another SUV to come sometime in 2024.

According to Drive, the ute is likely to be delivered as a plug-in hybrid initially, and as a BEV at a later date. Australia really needs a BEV ute, and BYD’s experience and expertise producing quality batteries makes it a prime candidate to provide it.

Luke Todd explains: “BYD has been manufacturing batteries for more than 20 years. They’re a major supplier to most of the world’s mobile phone battery supplies so BYD started as a battery company, but then evolved into electric buses, transportation, a whole range of other things. There’s no nickel or cobalt in the latest BYD battery, they will have a life cycle of more than one million kilometres, underpinned by a seven-year 160,000km warranty. The reality is that the batteries will far exceed that range.”

Meanwhile, back in the showroom at Indooroopilly, Majella was exploring the Dolphin while I grilled the salespeople. Sitting in the driver’s seat, she was impressed with the wraparound seats. BYD seems to have simplified the controls from the Atto 3. Like other EV makers, BYD is learning and making each iteration an improvement. She appreciated the push-button sunroof (you won’t get that on an entry-level Corolla). The interior was two-tone black and cream with almost a retro feel to it.

Quirky features included a dolphin flipper shaped door handle, roller controls on the dash, and circular air vents (like we had in the sixties). The steering wheel featured sound and speed controls. Plenty to play with. The car comes with a trickle charger and, of course, BYD dragon scales! Overall, it’s a zippy little car for around town.

Corolla Killer?

Dolphin flipper door handles. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

The salespeople tell me that they have about 5–10 enquiries a day. Some people just walk past and get hooked, others have done their research and are ready to order. I was frequently interrupted in my interrogation of the salesman as people came to make enquiries.

Kevin Gillam from the BYD Dolphin Australia Facebook page shared his views with me: “The ultra-reliable Corolla has been around since the late 60’s and I have friends who have clocked up 300,000 plus Klms with little or no trouble. But … it is hampered with old technology and the Toyota Corolla hybrid is the closest you will get to a comparable machine at the moment. The BYD Dolphin is an unknown quantity but all of the arrows are heading in the right place to make the car a winner. Arguably, the Dolphin’s fit, finish and build quality is comparable with the Corolla BUT it is a contemporary BEV with all of the advantages that infers. The list of its ‘extras’ is significant and its list of standard fit items puts it above its competitors; including the Corolla. To be able to warm your car on a winter’s day before you use it … warm your seats, automatically park mirrors, OTA updates to its operating system. I mean, the list just goes on and on.”

Corolla Killer

BYD Dolphin funky interior. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

With car purchases, price is the final frontier — 5 years ago, people were concerned about choice, range, power, and price. Now, all of these issues have been dealt with. Why would you buy a hybrid Corolla when you can get a fully electric BEV for the same price? Viva la rEVolution.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

EV Obsession Daily!

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

Tesla Sales in 2023, 2024, and 2030

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.
Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


You May Also Like

Clean Transport

Failure to meet demand for zero-emission trucks would present opportunity for Tesla and BYD, T&E says.

Energy Storage

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News! Australia still has a large agricultural industry (in...

Clean Transport

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News! A recent announcement from Shell in China shows...

Clean Power

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News! You can’t get much more alternative energy than...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.