In the ever-evolving world of electric vehicles, BYD has dived into the market with its latest offering, appropriately enough called, the Dolphin. This all-electric C-segment hatchback is making waves with its affordable starting price of just £26,000.
One of the standout features of the BYD Dolphin is its innovative battery technology. It comes equipped with a 60.4 kWh Lithium-Ion phosphate (LFP) battery known as a “blade battery.” This unique battery not only offers a solid 265-mile range but also boasts safety advantages and a compact design. BYD’s expertise in battery manufacturing, harks back to 1995, pre-dating its entry to car-making which only began in 2008.
The lower priced models will come with a 44.9 kWh battery offering between 193 to 211 miles of range. It’s worth noting that this battery has passed rigorous safety tests, including a brutal nail penetration test.
The BYD Dolphin marks the debut of BYD’s Ocean series, and draws inspiration from dolphins. The side profile is said to represent a cetacean leaping out of the water. We’ll let you make up your own mind about that particular resemblance, but it is available with an attractive two-tone exterior and choice of seven paint finishes. The car has been lengthened for the European market to enhance crash safety performance, measuring in at 4.3 meters in length, 1.8 meters in width, and 1.6 meters in height.
The BYD Dolphin offers a range of trim levels, starting from the base Active from £26,195 with the 44.9kWh battery and 95bhp. Boost is £27,195, offers the same battery but with 176bhp. Comfort is £30,195 with the larger 60.4kWh battery and 204bhp.
The car we tested was the range-topping Design at £31,695 or about £329 per month over 49 months with about £3k deposit. They even throw in a shell recharge cards with £600 credit.
It gets the same battery and power-output as the Comfort, but also includes a panoramic roof, rear privacy glass, wireless smartphone charging, 17-inch two-tone alloy wheels, and an intriguing feature known as “vehicle-to-load” (V2L) capability. V2L allows you to use the car’s battery to charge external devices, making it quite a versatile feature.
The BYD Dolphin is a front-wheel-drive vehicle, and the Design, with 310Nm of torque can accelerate from 0 to 62 miles per hour in just seven seconds and reaches a top speed of 99mph. Notably, it comes standard with a heat pump, an industry-first direct cooling and heating system that optimizes thermal efficiency by up to 15%.
When it comes to practicality, the BYD Dolphin offers a generous 345-liter boot capacity, which expands to 1,310 litres with the 60/40 split rear seats folded. There’s a handy rubberized tray, and an additional storage under the boot floor to store your charging cables.
Inside the cabin, the BYD Dolphin continues to impress with a unique design featuring wave-like patterns and a modern, tech-infused interior. The top-spec “Design” trim comes with vegan leather upholstery and a 12.3-inch rotating touchscreen infotainment system. The car also includes a comprehensive suite of driver-assistance features, including adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and more.
Our test drive revealed that the BYD Dolphin offers a comfortable and smooth ride. The acceleration in sports mode is particularly lively, and the car handles corners surprisingly well, with minimal body roll. The regenerative braking system provides excellent control over slowing down, although it might take a little getting used to for those new to electric cars. While the steering is well-weighted, it lacks significant feedback, which is common in electric vehicles.
During our test drive, the BYD Dolphin demonstrated an accurate range estimation, and it maintained a good balance between performance and efficiency. Even on more open roads, and despite some exuberant driving, the range held up well, and after a 47-mile journey it still indicated a 208-mile range.
There are only less than 10 brand new electric cars that are priced from less than £30,000, and the Dolphin is one of them. So, if you’re looking for a budget EV, this one definitely has to go on your shortlist.
The intriguing styling, useful interior practicality, plus decent range and good performance make the new BYD Dolphin a strong contender.