Everything you need to know about the BYD EA1 (BYD Dolphin) [Update]

BYD has officially confirmed all the details of its brand-new electric car, the BYD Dolphin, that has recently entered the Chinese showrooms. Australia’s Nexport will handle sales for this model in the local market, which we initially knew by its codename ‘BYD EA1.’

Design

Wolfgang Egger, the former Audi design chief who is now the Global Design Director at BYD, has designed the Dolphin. The little electric hatchback is the first BYD model to adopt the company’s “marine design concepts,” and it premieres a new logo as well. The new Chinese EV features a swoopy but odd-faced front and sporty side and rear structures. The interior has a fluidic and minimalist design theme and a huge central touchscreen in landscape orientation. The cabin has more than 20 storage spaces, and the boot can accommodate four 20-inch cabin bags.

This is our urban dream. It is a vision. It’s not just a car, but it is a device for future mobility in the city. It’s compact, it’s fresh, individual, and an icon. As you remember, I always say that a car should be defined only by three lines (inaudible). It’s a new architecture for electric mobility, and only these three lines, they define the shape. It’s really unique. It’s an icon. You see once, and you never forget again, can you?

Wolfgang Egger, Design Director, BYD
BYD Dolphin or BYD EA1 rear three quarters
Nexport will import the BYD Dolphin (BYD EA1) to Australia. The Australian launch has been pushed to 2022. Image Source: BYD

YouTube channel Wheelsboy has uploaded a walkaround showing the BYD Dolphin in the metal. On the outside, the design of the lights, especially the tail lights, impresses the presenter. The technical-looking tail lights take inspiration from the Chinese knotting handicraft. The 16-inch two-tone alloy wheels look more than inspired by the VW ID.3’s 20-inch Sanya rims.

Inside, the cylindrical panel of physical controls on the centre console has the attention of the YouTuber. Indeed, this panel with rotary dials for most functions and a nice little gear selector switch that allows selecting, drive, neutral, and drive with a simple flick is a neat touch. The sports seats in two-tone white/black colour and orange accents make the cabin very appealing for young car buyers.

Video Source: YouTube/Wheelsboy

BYD Dolphin eStarPro

At Auto Guangzhou 2021, BYD showcases several special edition models with a custom exterior to pull the audience towards its booth. One is the ‘BYD Dolphin esStarPro,’ a modified Dolphin created in association with the Chinese e-Sports club eStarPro. It features white paint, blue graphics on the bonnet, doors and wheel arches, tailgate, and bumpers, red highlights on the bumpers, a rear wing, and multi-spoke wheels. BYD has created it probably only for the promotional activities, and it is unlikely to launch it in the market. You can view the pictures on autohome.com.cn.

Platform

The BYD Dolphin sits on the company’s new e-platform 3.0. As it is an economical city car, it doesn’t benefit from the platform’s top-end specifications, like support for 800-volt high-power chargers for rapid charging, for instance.

BYD calls e-platform 3.0 “the cradle of the next generation of electric vehicles.” The design of the vehicle body integrates the company’s ultra-safe Blade battery pack into it as a structural part. The new platform allows parameters like 2.9-second 0-100 km/h acceleration time, a 1,000 km range, and rapid charging at a level powerful enough to gain a 150 km range in just five minutes. The company suggests that the torsional rigidity of e-platform 3.0 models can be double that of its ICE models.

Specifications

The BYD Dolphin or BYD EA1 measures 4,070-4,150 mm in length, 1,770 mm in width, and 1,570 mm in height. The small electric car has a 2,700 mm wheelbase. It is available in three technical configurations, each with a different range.

The base and middle configurations employ a 70 kW/180 Nm permanent magnet synchronous motor. This motor draws energy from a 30.7 kWh Blade LFP battery pack in the base configuration and a 44.9 kWh Blade LFP battery pack in the middle configuration.

The base configuration provides a range of 301 km (NEDC), and the middle configuration allows a noticeably longer range of 405 km (NEDC). Both these feature 16-inch alloy wheels with 195/60 R16 tyres.

The top-end BYD Dolphin, which should make it to Australia, gets a more potent permanent magnet synchronous motor that generates 130 kW (177 PS) and 290 mm of torque. An MIIT filing that we have accessed has shown that it can attain a top speed of 160 km/h. Its battery pack is the same 44.9 kWh unit as that of the middle configuration, but it produces a slightly lower range of 401 km (NEDC).

BYD Dolphin SpecificationBase VariantMid VariantTop-end Variant
Length4,070 mm4,125 mm4,150 mm
Width1,770 mm1,770 mm1,770 mm
Height1,570 mm1,570 mm1,570 mm
Wheelbase2,700 mm2,700 mm2,700 mm
Motor TypePMSMPMSMPMSM
Motor Power70 kW70 kW130 kW (177 PS)
Motor Torque180 Nm180 Nm290 Nm
Battery Pack Energy Content30.7 kWh44.9 kWh44.9 kWh
Range (NEDC)301 km405 km401 km
Max. AC Charging Power7 kW7 kW7 kW
Max. DC Charging Power40 kW60 kW60 kW
Fast-charging Time (30-80% SoC)30 minutes30 minutes30 minutes
0-50 km/h Acceleration Time3.9 seconds3.9 seconds3 seconds
Specifications as on the BYD Auto China website

Price & Features

The BYD Dolphin launch in China was held at the 2021 Chengdu Auto Show on 30 August 2021, with prices falling in the range of CNY 93,800-121,800 (AUD 20,294-26,352). According to a report from autohome.com.cn, BYD received 2,000 pre-orders for the Dolphin in just one hour after pre-sales began on 13 August 2021. In October 2021, BYD sold more than 6,000 units of the Dolphin, as per Chinese press reports.

LED headlights and taillights, heated ORVMs, 12.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 5-inch digital instrument cluster, heat pump, 6-way adjustable driver seat, 4-way adjustable front passenger seat, driving recorder, mobile key (NFC-based), and a panoramic sunroof are some of the main features of the Dolphin. It is worth noting here that no other EV in this segment comes with a heat pump.

BYD Dolphin/EA1 Australian launch delayed

In July 2021, Nexport CEO Luke Todd told thedriven.io that the EA1 Australian launch has been pushed to 2022. Initially, the company planned to launch the new EV in Australia in July and begin customer deliveries in Q1 2022 (January-March 2022), as reported by drive.com.au in April 2021. Nexport will price the BYD Dolphin in Australia “well under AUD 35,000.”

In October 2021, Todd told drive.com.au that production of the right-hand BYD Dolphin, supposed to take place on an “Australia-only” assembly line, hasn’t begun. The COVID-19 pandemic-led manufacturing and shipping issues have affected the launch schedule.

While the Dolphin launch is still on the cards, Australia will now get the Yuan Plus electric SUV as the brand’s first model instead of the hatchback. Nexport will launch the BYD Yuan Plus in Australia by April 2022. The company wants to launch a total of six BYD models in the country and these temporary setbacks haven’t affected that decision.

Nexport has received an order of 3,000 EVs from Splend, Australia’s largest car rental provider for ride-sharing drivers, it said in May. These will be EVs made by BYD, and they will likely include the Dolphin. Splend will take deliveries of the EVs over a period of two years, beginning in early 2022. However, the delays mentioned above could affect this timeline.

BYD Dolphin (BYD EA1) FAQs

What is the BYD Dolphin release date for Australia?

The BYD EA1 is not expected to launch before April 2022, as per local media reports. The Yuan Plus SUV will be the first BYD launch for Australia.

What is the projected BYD Dolphin price in Australia?

The BYD Dolphin will be priced well under AUD 35,000.

Which cars will be BYD Dolphin rivals in Australia?

The Dolphin will be the lone ranger in its segment in Australia, having no competitors.

Featured Image Source: BYD