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Why you can only buy this Chinese hatchback in KwaZulu-Natal

You can currently only purchase the new BYD Dolphin in KwaZulu-Natal as the electric hatch is being introduced to South Africa on a per-province basis.

It’s rather out-of-the-box for an automaker to launch its products to specific provinces in a stuttered manner rather than the entire country at one time, as is generally the case with major car brands.

TopAuto got in touch with the Chinese manufacturer to find out why it has chosen to debut its newest offering in such an unusual manner.

“We wanted to approach the launch of the Dolphin differently by giving our dealers the opportunity to introduce the new model in a way that allows families across South Africa to interact with the vehicles first hand,” said a BYD spokesperson.

“By conducting launches in individual provinces, we can create unique, localised experiences that engage communities more effectively and provide potential customers with a personal touch.”

The next provinces to get the Dolphin will be the Eastern Cape and thereafter the Western Cape, said BYD.

For the Eastern Cape, the launch will take place on the 2nd of June at the Welcoming the Whales Festival in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth).

As for the Western Cape, the spokesperson revealed that the hatchback will be unveiled in Cape Town, but that the dates on which this is taking place must still be finalised.

After this, the Dolphin will continue its rollout in provinces where BYD has established dealers, the company said, which currently only includes Gauteng.

Dolphin specifications

The Dolphin is available in two specifications in South Africa comprising the Standard Range and Extended Range.

The entry-level model features a 44.9kWh battery providing a driving range of 340km, hooked up to a front-mounted electric motor generating 70kW and 180Nm.

The top-spec entry boasts a larger 60.48kWh module that increases its driving potential to a more substantial 427km, and it also gets a more powerful drive unit with 150kW and 310Nm on tap.

Across the range, the BYD hatch is equipped with automatic LED lights with high-beam assist, keyless entry and start, climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, electric front seats with heating, a 5-inch digital instrument cluster, a rotating 12.8-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite navigation, a wireless charger, and a panoramic glass roof with a retractable sunshade.

In addition, both Dolphin derivatives receive a 360-degree camera system, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep support, lane-departure warning, lane-departure prevention, lane-change collision warning, intelligent speed limit control, traffic sign recognition, predictive collision warning, front and rear cross-traffic alert with braking, rear collision warning, blind-spot detection, and driver fatigue monitoring.


The South African pricing and model line-up of the new BYD Dolphin are as follows:

  • BYD Dolphin Standard Range – R539,900
  • BYD Dolphin Extended Range – R599,900

Each purchase is supported by a 5-year/100,000km vehicle warranty and an 8-year/160,000km battery warranty.


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