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Chinese automaker unveils newest EV as it closes the gap on Tesla — here's why it's called a Tesla 'fighter'

Consumers seem excited to see the vehicle in North America.

Consumers seem excited to see the vehicle in North America.

Photo Credit: BYD

A sleek SUV from electric vehicle maker BYD has gone from sketch to metal, recently debuting at an auto show in China. 

Sea Lion, a mid-size SUV dubbed a Tesla Model Y "Fighter," is the latest model entering the exciting and competitive waters for the big-time EV seller.

China-based BYD had "estimated" sales of nearly 1.2 million EVs in the first half of the year, per data collector Statista. Now, the two companies are jockeying for position as the largest EV seller on the planet. They are both far ahead of the rest of the field

The Sea Lion design is inspired by how the animal jumps into the water, according to a story on the EV by Electrek.

And Sea Lion's aerodynamic look is catching eyes online. 

"Wow what a name, it does look like a sea lion too," one user commented on X, formerly Twitter. 

Sea Lion pricing is varied, depending on the report. But it's likely to be competitive with the Model Y, listed by Tesla as of Dec. 1 at a base price of $43,990 (before incentives and estimated gas savings). Extras and options impact the price and range for these EVs. 

Electrek estimates the Sea Lion will cost between $27,000 and $35,900

BYD is ending the year strong, selling more than 165,000 battery EVs in October, per a company stat sheet. Sea Lion will join already popular models, Dolphin and Seal, in the company's ocean-themed collection. 

The designers back up the outside aesthetics with high-tech interiors that carry vehicle themes inside. The Dolphin, for instance, has a center console that resembles a dolphin's body. 

The EV market holds great opportunities this decade. Research site MarketsandMarkets expects the global market to grow from more than $388 billion now to around $952 billion by 2030. The increase is in part because of better technology, per the report. 

BYD has entered markets abroad, making news earlier this year when Dolphin debuted in Australia. America offers a lot of open water if ever the company chooses to sell passenger EVs here. Although, there hadn't been movement on that front as of mid-year, per Electrek. 

Optimism is building, however, behind the unique brand. 

"Can't wait to see BYD in North America," one X user posted

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