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New budget Chinese electric car set to launch in South Africa – Expected pricing

On 2 January 2024, Chinese automaker Build Your Dreams (BYD) filed a trademark in South Africa for the Dolphin Mini, which is known as the Seagull in Asia, hinting at a possible local launch for the electric vehicle (EV), MyBroadband reports.

In its home country, the Dolphin Mini is BYD’s most affordable product and retails for anywhere between 73,800 Yuan to 89,800 Yuan, translating to a starting price of approximately R196,000 at the current exchange rate.

Outside of China, though, the EV is slightly pricier.

In India, it’s expected to start at around 100,000 Rupees (R230,000) once it goes on sale; but in Latin America, where it is officially launching this February, it goes for a far higher $21,990 (R419,000).

Looking at BYD’s other vehicles for another possible hint; the fully-fledged Dolphin (not the Mini) is making its South African debut in March at a starting price of R550,000, which is around 62% higher than its Chinese price tag of 126,800 Yuan (R340,000).

Similarly, the larger Atto 3 sells for R768,000 in our market but a considerably lower 135,800 Yuan (R363,000) in China.

With these costs in mind, the new Dolphin Mini should retail somewhere around the R400,000 mark if it reaches South African showrooms.

What to expect

Depending on the country, the Dolphin Mini is available in two grades separated by the capacity of their batteries.

Badged as the EV300 and EV400 in Uruguay, the cheaper version is equipped with a 30.08kWh pack which lends it a driving range of 305km on the CLTC standard while the pricier version comes with a 38.88kWh power source that elevates driving potential to 405km.

Both models feature the same front-mounted motor generating 55kW and 135Nm, which supplies a top speed of 135km/h and a 0-50km/h acceleration time of 4.9 seconds.

Like the rest of BYD’s offerings, its most attainable EV is well equipped and brings niceties such as leather seating, a digital driver’s display, a rotating 10.1-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, a reverse camera, and automatic parking.

Aptly named, the Dolphin Mini is also rather compact by most standards, measuring 3,780mm long, 1,715mm wide, and 1,540mm high while riding on 15-inch alloy wheels.

BYD Seagull/Dolphin Mini

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