Tesla’s biggest rival launching R550,000 electric car in South Africa

Chinese electric vehicle (EV) giant BYD plans to launch its Dolphin hatchback in South Africa in 2024 with a starting price of R550,000.

The information was revealed to EV Charge co-founder Roberto Bruzanitti by a BYD representative at a local test-drive event for the Atto 3 SUV EV, BYD’s first car in South Africa.

The representative also said that the likely local launch date of the Dolphin will be around March or April 2024.

The Dolphin is a five-seater hatchback driven by one of two front-axle-fitted motors — providing either 70kW output and 180Nm torque or 150kW and 310Nm.

The latter’s 0–100km/h acceleration clocks in at around 7 seconds.

In Australia, a right-hand-drive market similar to South Africa, these two configurations are called Dynamic and Premium.

The Dynamic model with the smaller motor is paired with a 44.9kWh battery pack that can achieve 340km on a single charge, based on the WLTP cycle.

It can be charged at up to 60kW with DC public charging or 7.4kW with AC charging.

The more powerful Premium model gets a 60.5kWh battery supporting up to 427km between charges.

It also gets faster charging speeds —  88kW for DC and 11kW for AC charging.

The interior of the Dolphin is packed with plenty of tech but features a much more conservative design than the Atto 3, aside from also having the rotatable 12.8-inch centre display.

BYD Dolphin interior in left-hand-drive configuration
BYD Dolphin back seats

Those focused on safety will be interested to know that the Dolphin achieved a 5-star rating in Euro NCAP and Australian NCAP testing.

Standard features on the Australian versions include:

The Dolphin also boasts a 6-year/150,000km warranty in Australia and 6-year/150,000 miles warranty in the UK.

However, precise configurations of the Dolphin that will be available in South Africa remain to be confirmed.

At a starting price of R550,000, the Dolphin will undercut the GWM Ora by R136,950, making it the most affordable passenger EV in South Africa.

It will also be about R218,000 cheaper than the entry-level BYD Atto 3.

The Dolphin has generally received moderate to good reviews in Australia and the UK.

Below are more photos of the BYD Dolphin.

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Tesla’s biggest rival launching R550,000 electric car in South Africa