Premium EV 'Sea Lion' Aims at Tesla

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【Summary】BYD, the world's largest electric carmaker, has launched its premium brand, Sea Lion, and the Sea Lion 07 SUV, directly competing with Tesla's Model Y. BYD, known for its low-cost models, is targeting the higher-end market segment with the Sea Lion brand, offering a full-electric SUV priced between 200,000 and 260,000 yuan. Analysts note that BYD has a significant cost advantage over Tesla.

FutureCar Staff    Nov 20, 2023 8:15 AM PT
Premium EV 'Sea Lion' Aims at Tesla

China's BYD, the world's largest electric carmaker, has entered direct competition with Tesla by launching a new premium brand called Sea Lion. As part of this launch, BYD introduced the Sea Lion 07 sport-utility vehicle, which directly competes with Tesla's Model Y.

Last year, BYD surpassed Tesla to become the biggest EV maker globally. However, most of BYD's cars are low-cost models targeted at lower- and middle-income buyers in mainland China. Despite this, the company has started expanding into the European market with vehicles like the entry-level Dolphin, which was launched in the UK this year at a price of £25,490.

In China, BYD offers EVs such as the small Seagull hatchback, which utilizes a sodium-ion battery that is cheaper to produce. The Seagull hatchback was introduced in the domestic market this year with a starting price of 73,800 yuan (£8,200).

While the majority of BYD's EVs fall within the price range of 100,000 yuan to 150,000 yuan, the Sea Lion brand aims for the higher-end market segment, directly competing with Tesla. The Sea Lion 07, a fully electric SUV unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show, will be priced between 200,000 yuan (£22,400) and 260,000 yuan, similar to Tesla's Model Y, which starts at 266,400 yuan.

Industry analysts have highlighted that BYD holds a significant production cost advantage over Tesla. According to a report from UBS, the cost of building a BYD Sea Lion EV is 15 percent lower than that of the comparable Tesla Model 3.

In addition to BYD, other potential rivals to Tesla have also made significant announcements at the Guangzhou Auto Show. Li Auto introduced its first pure-electric model, the seven-seat MEGA MPV, which received 10,000 pre-orders within two hours of its release. Geely launched the Zeekr 007 electric sedan from its premium Zeekr brand, while Xpeng unveiled its first pure electric multi-purpose vehicle, the X9 MPV. Xpeng has also recently partnered with Volkswagen to develop two VW-branded EVs.

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