FIRST DRIVE: 2024 BYD Seal. Has BYD built a better Tesla Model 3? | Electrifying

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Read the BYD Seal review:

If there’s one car that has come to define the electric car revolution, it has to be the Tesla Model 3. Millions have been sold since its introduction, making it the best-selling electric car in the world. So you might be wondering why nobody has thought about doing the same. Why aren’t our roads full of sleek, slippery saloons with efficiency that none of its competitors come close to matching?

Finally, that situation could be about to change. Six years after the Model 3 arrived, BYD is set to release what appears to be a worthy alternative. The Seal is part of BYD’s Ocean range of electric cars and UK bosses are planning to bring the first batch in before the end of the year. The Seal’s arrival will bookend what will be a remarkable assault on the UK car market from BYD. From no presence whatsoever at the start of 2023, BYD plans to have three models (Atto 3, Dolphin and Seal) in UK showrooms.

The Seal will be offered in the UK in two versions – rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive – badged Design and Excellence. The rear-drive version comes with 308bhp while the all-wheel drive version offers 523bhp. Which is a lot. The rear-drive version can go from 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds, while the all-wheel drive one does the same in 3.9 seconds. The AWD model’s straight line acceleration feels every bit as quick as those figures suggest.

Both versions come with an 82.5kWh battery as standard which uses cobalt-free LFP chemistry and BYD’s blade design that places all the cells into thin ‘blades’ that allow for a higher density of energy. The Seal also features what BYD calls Cell to Body construction. That’s a fancy way of saying that the battery is used as part of the structure of the car rather than just being bolted in.

Join Ginny as she puts the first European spec version through its paces for the first time and delivers the definitive verdict. What do you think of the BYD Seal? Would you choose one over a Tesla Model 3? As always, we love to hear your comments so get typing below.


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