The Chinese company may be new to the British scene, but it is out to make a mark with its new Dolphin EV which will be priced from £25,490 making it one of the most affordable electric vehicles currently on sale.
With a range of up to 265 miles, the Dolphin will be arriving in the next few months – and we have just got up close to a prototype model.
Measuring almost 4.3 metres long, the Dolphin is of similar proportions to a Ford Fiesta and comes as a compact 5-door, 5-seater with a boot that stretches from 345 to 1,310 litres.
And to maximise usability, there is extra storage under the boot floor which can be used for the charging cables if necessary.
Four trim levels will be available – Active, Boost, Comfort, and Design – with Active and Boost models having a 44.9kWh battery and available from early in 2024.
Active versions have a 94bhp motor, while Boost cars get a more powerful 174bhp unit and will be priced from £26,490.
Comfort and Design Dolphins have a larger 60.4kWh batteries and 201bhp motors giving them more performance of 0 to 62mph in 7.0 seconds with a maximum of 100mph.
That is the same power set up as BYD uses in the larger ATTO 3 SUV, which was launched in the UK earlier in 2023.
The Dolphin Comfort models are priced from £29,490 with the top grade Design specification having a panoramic sunroof, two-tone paint finishes, rear privacy glass and wireless phone charging coming in at £30,990.
The Dolphin is a good-looking vehicle with sharp styling, clean lines and some sculpted touches.
Despite its compact proportions it has a long wheelbase of 2.7 metres and an uncluttered cabin which, for a car of such proportions, has created a good amount of space inside.
The instrumentation features a 12.8-inch central display screen that can rotate through 90 degrees from horizontal to vertical depending on preference, and a smaller display on top of the steering column for the driver.
A ‘floating’ centre console is a stylish touch and creates a good-sized storage area between the front seats, while vegan leather is used in the upholstery.
There is a fair-sized glovebox on the front passenger side and four rotary vent nacelles across the dashboard, while the Dolphin also has large storage bins in each of its four doors.
Gear selection is done from a control in the central bank of switches, while the car is fitted with an electronic parking brake with an auto hold function, which is operated from buttons further back in the centre console.
From the driving seat all is laid out simply and within easy reach, and the soft-touch steering wheel was one of a number of upmarket features that set the Dolphin ahead of rivals.
BYD says that recharging from 30 to 80 percent can be done in just under half-an-hour, and all models are fitted with vehicle to load systems so that the battery can be used to operate external devices.
The Dolphin is also fitted with a heat pump for more efficient warming of the interior, while the company says its Blade battery system has been designed to give added range of up to 15 percent in cold weather conditions.
Standard safety features include forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, rear collision warning, rear cross traffic alert and rear cross traffic brake, lane departure prevention and emergency lane keeping assist. The prototype Dolphin was also fitted with adaptive cruise control as well as a blind spot detection system, electronic stability control, traction control, hill decent control, automatic vehicle hold, and traffic sign recognition with intelligent speed limit control.
Since its formation in 1995, BYD has become a dominant force in the global production of rechargeable batteries and its rapid growth on the automotive scene has been something of a phenomenon – outselling even Tesla in the new wave of motoring.
With the Dolphin, it is sending a warning shot to other carmakers that affordable electric vehicles are a must if Government emission targets are to be met.
Prices correct as of 14/08/2023 and are subject to change.
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