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Look out, MG and GWM Ora: BYD won't be left out of Australia's raging EV price war after the BYD Dolphin has been displaced as the cheapest new electric car

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The BYD Seagull might swoop in as our cheapest EV.
The BYD Seagull might swoop in as our cheapest EV.

Will BYD release an even cheaper version of its Dolphin and wade into the electric vehicle (EV) price war that currently sees the GWM Ora from $35,990 driveaway and MG’s 4 and ZS both not too far behind at $39,990 driveaway?

“Potentially,” according to BYD importer EV Direct CEO David Smitherman, speaking to CarsGuide in the aftermath of the Dolphin from $38,890 (before on-road costs) being displaced by its aggressively-discounted rivals.

“We’re always looking at value for money across the range. We’re also conscious we want to protect the brand but we always want to be competitive, absolutely.”

Though a temporary move, Smitherman pointed to the existing MY23 Atto 3 Extended Range demonstrator sale that sees the up-spec version of the popular EV SUV slashed by about $8000 to $45,990 drive-away as proof of BYD’s desire to dominate the market, but also confirmed other models in the future might also fit the bill.

A promising candidate is the EV known as both the Seagull and Dolphin Mini – a high-riding city-sized five-door hatch that would comfortably undercut the larger regular Dolphin should it be greenlit for Australia.

The BYD Dolphin was Australia's cheapest EV.
The BYD Dolphin was Australia's cheapest EV.

Whatever it would be called, Smitherman believes there is potential for the entry-level EV in Australia.

“So, I've had a look at that car… and it's actually a really good proposition,” he revealed. “And it's actually bigger than you think. It's sub-Dolphin, but it's got the latest tech. It's a good size vehicle.

The Seagull may be right for Oz, says BYD boss.
The Seagull may be right for Oz, says BYD boss.

“But I am not confirming that it's coming to us right now.

“We're certainly wanting to grow the portfolio. Our intention is to broaden the product offering, but that it will just take time.”

In some markets, the Seagull is known as the Dolphin Mini.
In some markets, the Seagull is known as the Dolphin Mini.

Overseas reports suggest that a modified version of the Seagull/Dolphin Mini will be made available in Europe from 2025, with additional equipment and technology to better-meet consumer expectations.

Whether this ends up being the sub-Dolphin EV weapon that BYD deploys in the ongoing price war in Australia remains to be seen… but watch this space.

Byron Mathioudakis
Contributing Journalist
Byron started his motoring journalism career when he joined John Mellor in 1997 before becoming a freelance motoring writer two years later. He wrote for several motoring publications and was ABC Youth radio Triple J's "all things automotive" correspondent from 2001 to 2003. He rejoined John Mellor in early 2003 and has been with GoAutoMedia as a senior product and industry journalist ever since. With an eye for detail and a vast knowledge base of both new and used cars Byron lives and breathes motoring. His encyclopedic knowledge of cars was acquired from childhood by reading just about every issue of every car magazine ever to hit a newsstand in Australia. The child Byron was the consummate car spotter, devoured and collected anything written about cars that he could lay his hands on and by nine had driven more imaginary miles at the wheel of the family Ford Falcon in the driveway at home than many people drive in a lifetime. The teenage Byron filled in the agonising years leading up to getting his driver's license by reading the words of the leading motoring editors of the country and learning what they look for in a car and how to write it. In short, Byron loves cars and knows pretty much all there is to know about every vehicle released during his lifetime as well as most of the ones that were around before then.
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