BYD Seal starts pre-orders in China, starting at less than $32,000, as Tesla Model 3 competitor

Chinese automaker BYD Auto has officially started taking pre-orders for its long-running Seal sedan. The new EV, which many expect to become a competitor to the Tesla Model 3, arrives in four different models, and will be the first from BYD to include new cell-to-body (CTB) technology.

BYD Auto is a subsidiary of BYD Co., Ltd. Ltd. It means “make your dreams”. The automotive division will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year as one of the largest auto manufacturers in China. In 2021 alone, BYD produced more than 320,000 BEVs, the second in the country after SAIC.

BYD Auto has been offering electrified vehicles since 2008 when a hybrid version of the F3 sedan debuted. Since then, BYD has had great success with Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) as well as all-electric passenger vehicles as well as fleets including trucks and buses.

To support the next generation of electric vehicles, BYD Auto unveiled e-Platform 3.0 in 2021 — a modular, compact platform to power both BEVs and PHEVs in the Ocean series of its new vehicles. So far, the Dolphin subcompact is the only BEV delivered in this series, but the seal is next in line.

As part of a presentation from China from BYD Auto executives, we now know the differences and pricing for the upcoming Seal sedan as pre-orders officially begin overseas.

Three out of four BYD Seal rims won the lowest price Tesla Model 3

While the public may have already gotten multiple glimpses of the Seal EV before today, BYD Auto has officially pulled out a sheet of many of the specs consumers have been waiting for, including pricing. During a presentation shared on the company’s Weibo page, BYD shared that the seal will come in four trim levels available with different specifications:

BYD Seal Trim Basic
Scope (Elite)
Standard range
Long-term performance
powertrain rear wheel drive rear wheel drive rear wheel drive four wheel drive
Scope (CLTC) 550 km
(342 miles)
550 km
(342 miles)
700 km
(435 miles)
650 km
(404 miles)
price 212800 yuan
225,800 yuan
CNY 262,800 ($39,516) CNY 289,800 ($43,576)

Based on the above prices and specifications as well as the tech below, many expect the Seal to arrive as a direct competitor to the Model 3. That might well be the case. In addition to being longer, wider and having a larger wheelbase than the Model 3 (Tesla is still taller), the BYD Seal is comparable in range. For example, the standard RWD 3 is rated at 556 km (346 mi) from the CLTC, while the twin-engine performance is rated at 675 km (419 mi).

The cheaper Tesla electric car wins somewhat, but not when you take into account the vast difference in price compared to the Seal. For example, the Tesla Model 3 sedan is currently available in two models in China – Standard and Performance, priced at CNY 279,900 ($42,088) and CNY 367,900 ($55,320) respectively.

In addition to being one of the first BYD EVs to reach its e-Platform 3.0 platform, the seal will be the first to feature the automaker’s cell-to-body (CTB) solution, which allows the battery to be integrated throughout the entire vehicle body – the EV design process new famous.

CTB sandwich structure / Source: Weibo / BYD Auto

According to BYD, the CTB design provides a 66% increase in battery pack size utilization, a 50% increase in frontal collision structural integrity, and a 100% increase in torsional body rigidity compared to conventional frame designs.

The battery pack itself uses tightly fitting BYD blade cells (the same as the Tesla purchased) that sit between the top and bottom plates to create a honeycomb-like structure, adding even more strength during impact. According to BYD, it is possible that the CTB chassis is “unbreakable during accidental impact.”

During BYD’s presentation, there was no mention of battery capabilities in the Seal models. but, CnEV He noted that the automaker previously announced a standard-range version of the Seal featuring a 61.44 kWh battery pack, and the long-range and AWD versions use an 82.56 kWh battery.

BYD has not yet shared when Seal deliveries will begin in China, but with pre-orders open, it’s fair to expect electric vehicles to arrive for customers in the coming months.

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