BYD has debuted its Dolphin in Australia at under 39,000 dollars ($26,000). The price is lower than other models on the market by at least $65, according to the Guardian. For certain brands, the cost difference is thousands of dollars.
Now, industry experts interviewed by the Guardian said BYD is the biggest challenge in Australia to global juggernauts like Tesla. They are watching to see if the Dolphin’s splash there impacts pricing overseas.
BYD is based in China, but Australia has become an example of Chinese EV production might. The brand is already the second-best EV seller in Australia, at 15% of the market share, though Tesla still leads the pack.
“The Chinese manufacturers have volume on their side,” Chris Jones, national president of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association, told the Guardian. “The vast majority of products they make get sold locally into the Chinese market and that’s enormous, so they’ve got numbers to make low-margin vehicles viable.”
The council estimates that there are 83,000 EVs on the road in Australia.
At the end of 2022, the average EV in the U.S. cost more than $61,000. But The New York Times reported that prices could match gas-powered vehicles by the end of 2023, thanks in part to government incentives, lower cost for materials — and perhaps competition from the Dolphin and other models.
The Dolphin is a hatchback akin to a Corolla, and it’s expected to be delivered to Aussie buyers in October. It has all the high-tech bells and whistles you’d expect from the latest EV. The front and rear light design was inspired by dolphins jumping out of the water, the designers wrote on the company’s website. Interior designs, including the center console, resemble a dolphin’s body.
On the road, it can do about 0-60 mph in seven seconds. The Dolphin will travel about 265 miles on a charge, BYD reported. Some of the top performance features require costly upgrades, though, the Guardian noted.
The Dolphin isn’t the only EV coming out of China, where experts expect imports to continue to impact the Australian market.
“Over the next 12 months, I think we’ll start to see the likes of Volkswagen here … and there’s some really good products coming out from Kia and Hyundai,” Chris King, the chief executive for Australian subscription ride-share business Splend, told the Guardian.
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