The Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD is poised to launch its first sub-$40,000 electric car on the Australian market, and the lowest price (by a few dollars) of three such vehicles along with the MG4 and the GWM Ora.
It’s another landmark development for the rapidly expanding Australian EV market, and to boost sales BYD has put the new Dolphin on display at experience centres around the country.
I decided to head to an experience centre down in Melbourne to check it out and thought I’d share my initial impressions.
Walking into the experience centre, a Maldive purple Dolphin was on display with its daytime-running lights on. It looks bigger than in the photos, although it is only slightly longer (3 mm) than the MG4 we test-drove last week.
The variant on showcase was the entry-level Dynamic with a starting price of $38,890 before on-road costs. This is the most affordable new electric car on the market at the moment so it was good to see what was packed into it.
Getting into the car was easy, as is the case in most low hatchbacks. Sitting on the inside, it felt fairly roomy with lots of headspace with the moonroof that’s even offered in the Dynamic variant.
With the gear shifter now located in the centre console, it provided a tunnel between the driver and the passenger seat that provides more storage space.
Along with that, the cupholders were easily accessible which is a bonus given some other electric hatchbacks have them much lower to the ground.
The steering wheel felt very much like the top selling BYD Atto 3, with easy-to-use controls and the screen behind it is once again like its roomier SUV counterpart.
Given the price point, the whole car felt much more premium than I was expecting it to be. From the materials in the seats to the moonroof which I mentioned earlier, the cabin is a nice space to be in.
In the rear, I found there was plenty of legroom sitting on the flat floor and the rear seats were quite comfortable too.
The boot also had plenty of space and a couple of deeper compartments which are certainly handy for storage.
In the boot, there was also a vehicle-to-load adapter, a home charger and a tyre repair kit. All these are handy when at home or on the go.
Overall, the car felt premium and from a manufacturing point of view, it felt like it was well put together, just like what impressed us when we first reviewed the Atto 3 in August last year.
With demand for EVs on the rise, it’s good to see compelling and affordable EVs making it to the market. Cars like the Dolphin will appeal to many and we can’t wait to test drive it in the coming months.
Riz is the founder of carloop based in Melbourne, specialising in Australian EV data, insight reports and trends. He is a mechanical engineer who spent the first 7 years of his career building transport infrastructure before starting carloop. He has a passion for cars, particularly EVs and wants to help reduce transport emissions in Australia. He currently drives a red Tesla Model 3.