The budget electric hatch made by BYD is about to go on sale in China, bringing it a step closer to an Australian launch.
Rumours are abounding that Tesla has now developed its own electric hatchback prototype in China and is also testing the BYD Blade battery for its own purposes, but it could be that the BYD hatch with the very same battery will pip it at the post in Australia.
Slated for the local auto market under direct-to-consumer business EVDirect, the BYD EA1 – rebadged the “Dolphin” for the China market – will be available for pre-order there from Friday for ¥110,000-130,000 ($A23,130-27,339 converted).
According to BYD, the EA1/Dolphin will be built on its new “e-platform 3.0”, which it says uses a proprietary operating system that can be expanded upon and upgraded with super-fast iteration cycles reduced from two months to two weeks to introduce new functions.
The car comes standard with a Blade battery and a permanent magnet synchronous motor with a maximum power of 70 kilowatts, and has a top speed of 150km/hr.
In China it will be offered in two driving range options, with weights of 1,285kg and 1,405kg respectively.
It is not clear if the 800-volt architecture for ultra-fast charging, adding 144km of range in as little as five minutes claimed on BYD’s English-speaking site, has made it to the production vehicle, but we imagine the heat pump as standard will be a certainty.
Interior photos show a central touchscreen with a smaller one behind the steering wheel, with wave-like dash and styling presumably inspired by the EA1’s Chinese moniker.
The BYD electric hatch will cost closer to the $A35,000 mark by the time it makes it to Australia, where it will join the BYD T3 commercial van and BYD e6 people mover, the first 15 of which became available for order in early August.
By then it will have a makeover and new name aimed at appealing to local drivers.
In the meantime, its recent presence at digital entertainment expo “Chinajoy” in Shanghai last week has brought to light some new images of the EA1, adorned in dancing cetaceans:
— Moneyball (@DKurac) August 2, 2021
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.