Yep. This is the new cheapest electric car you can buy in Australia. This title is a frequently moving target, but again, at the time of writing, the entry-level Dolphin variant, at $38,890, before on-road costs and state-based incentives, undercut the MG4 by just $100, and the GWM Ora by $1100.
Importantly, its starting price is now in the realm of relevant combustion rivals. For similar money, you can hop into a high-spec Corolla (ZR Hybrid $39,100) for example, so this is the first time electric cars have become so affordable for the average consumer.
There are two Dolphin variants for now. The entry-level Dynamic, and the top-spec Premium. Both share more or less the same standard equipment levels, although they are differentiated by having different battery sizes and electric motor outputs.
You can’t talk electric car value without talking range, but thankfully, despite its low price, the Dolphin delivers on this front.
The base car scores a 44.9kWh battery, granting it a 340km WLTP-certified driving range, while the top-spec Premium ups this to a 60.5kWh unit, delivering a more substantial 427km range.
The entry battery is more than enough for city commuters, while the larger battery is enough to suit intercity freeway drives.
There are also plenty of longer-range EVs on the market, the Polestar 2 and Tesla Model 3 being chief among them, but for a vehicle at this price and in this market segment, the Dolphin is a huge improvement on some mainstream offerings, like the Mazda MX-30 and Nissan Leaf which can’t offer the same price-to-value ratio.
A lot of BYD’s ability to provide such an appealing price and driving range is down to its battery technology.
Unlike other automakers which need to buy batteries from suppliers, BYD designs and builds its own batteries, using an LFP chemistry which is cheaper and uses fewer scarce materials while offering economies of scale as well as the exact right size and form factor for its vehicles.
If this leaves you thinking the Dolphin must be sub-par when it comes to standard inclusions, you can think again, because this car also delivers with 16-inch alloys, LED headlights and tail-lights, a massive 12.8-inch multimedia touchscreen with built-in nav as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a wireless phone charger, electrical adjust and heating for the front seats, keyless entry with push-start ignition, climate control, and a comprehensive suite of active safety items.
Not bad at all, and the interior blend of neoprene and synthetic leather feels a bit nicer than the base MG4's cabin, for example.
The Dolphin might be as cheap as it gets when it comes to an electric car, but the value on offer here speaks for itself.