The Shanghai Auto Show 2023 is featuring the unveiling of BYD’s new Seagull model, presented by the Chinese car company. This compact electric vehicle is equipped with a sodium-ion battery and is expected to have a starting price of approximately 10,400 euros in China.
BYD has recently adopted a naming convention inspired by aquatic animals for its new electric car models. The Seagull is part of the Ocean Series, which also includes the Seal, Dolphin, and Sea Lion. The introduction of the Seagull at the Shanghai Motor Show expands the Ocean Series to a quartet. Interestingly, the Mercedes 300 SL earned the nickname “gullwing” due to its upward-opening doors resembling a seagull’s spread wings.
In terms of design, the Seagull features a distinctive look with short front overhangs and a relatively large air intake, which is atypical for an electric car. Unique design elements include a single-arm wiper and plastic accents around the wheels, side skirts, and C-pillar, visually separating the lower body area from the roof section. The rear design includes an extended spoiler and horizontally connected rear lights with a narrow light strip.
The BYD Seagull is expected to be offered with two engine variants: 55 kW (75 hp) and 75 kW (102 hp). The vehicle will also come with different battery options. The larger battery, with a capacity of 38 kilowatt-hours and lithium iron phosphate cells (LFP), is projected to provide a range of 405 kilometers according to the Chinese CLTC driving cycle. The smaller battery, with a capacity of 30 kilowatt-hours, is said to be a sodium-ion battery that offers a range of 305 kilometers. BYD claims that the sodium-ion battery has advantages in terms of cost and environmental impact since it does not contain cobalt, nickel, or lithium.
Limited information is available about the interior of the Seagull. It features four seats and two monitors. The driver’s information display is positioned behind the slightly flattened steering wheel, while a tablet-sized infotainment touchscreen is located in the center of the dashboard. Haptic buttons for essential functions are placed between the infotainment screen and the central air vents.
The exact release date for the BYD Seagull in China and its potential availability in Europe is currently unknown. The anticipated prices for the Chinese market range from 80,000 to 100,000 yuan, which is equivalent to approximately 10,400 to 13,300 euros.
With the Seagull, BYD is expanding its electric vehicle lineup to target the lower end of the market. This model is expected to be the first production car to feature a sodium-ion battery, showcasing the capabilities and limitations of this novel cell chemistry.