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HomeNewsSouth Africa’s most affordable new electric car launching in March – Pricing and specs

South Africa’s most affordable new electric car launching in March – Pricing and specs

The new BYD Dolphin is making its South African debut in March, well-informed charging solution company EV Charge confirmed to TopAuto.

At launch, the battery-powered hatch is going to retail from a starting price of R550,000 which will make it the most affordable electric vehicle (EV) in the country, undercutting its main rival – the new GWM Ora 03 – by a sizeable R136,950.

BYD, short for Build Your Dreams, is hailed as the biggest new-energy vehicle producer in the world. Only recently opening its doors in South Africa, the Dolphin will be the Chinese automaker’s second offering in the local market following the introduction of the Atto 3 crossover in June last year.

BYD is also in talks with local government to establish a new car factory on local soil, a statement from Cabinet revealed in 2023.

What to expect

The final spec and line-up for the new Dolphin in South Africa must still be confirmed, but it is anticipated that it will be available in two specifications akin to the model range of the Atto 3.

Looking at Australia where the hatchback is already on sale in Dynamic and Premium trims, it features a 44.9kWh “Blade Battery” in the entry-level version that supplies a maximum range of 340km on the WLTP standard, while the pricier specification is equipped with a 60.48kWh module that boosts driving potential to 427km.

Using a 100kW DC charger sees the smaller power pack replenish from 30-80% in as little as 29 minutes with the larger one taking fractionally longer.

The EV additionally supports vehicle-to-load power delivery of up to 3.3kW, allowing owners to charge or power external devices when there are grid outages.

Featuring a single electric motor in front, the BYD generates 70kW and 180Nm in the Dynamic version which sees it claim the 0-100km/h sprint in 12.3 seconds.

Stepping up to the Premium model sees power output increase to 150kW and 310Nm, which in turn cuts acceleration time down to seven seconds flat.

Both Dolphin derivatives also boast regenerative braking abilities, which feed power back into the battery during deceleration to enhance driving range.

Once inside, the BYD brings a raft of creature comforts as standard including a 5-inch digital instrument cluster, a 12.8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, climate control, keyless entry and start, electric front seats with heating, synthetic leather upholstery, wireless charger, and a panoramic sunroof.

It boasts as many as 20 assistance systems, too, the highlights being automatic LED lights with high-beam assist, front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-change collision warning, lane-keep support, intelligent speed-limit control, traffic sign recognition, blind-spot detection, front and rear cross-traffic alert with emergency braking, and a driver fatigue monitor.

The EV also achieved a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating in late 2023, scoring 89% in adult occupant protection, 87% in child occupant protection, 85% in pedestrian protection, and 79% for its safety systems.

Covering a footprint of 4,290mm in length, 1,770mm in width, and 1,570mm in height, the Dolphin is similar in size to something like a BMW 1 Series, which, coincidentally, is noticeably more expensive than the Chinese EV despite running on fossil fuels.

The complete line-up and specifications of the new Dolphin will be released at launch.

BYD Dolphin

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