The pricing of the new BYD Seal has reset the benchmark for electric sedans, taking on the highly regarded Tesla Model 3 with a staggering $12,000+ lower starting price while leaving other Chinese-made electric sedans like the fleet-favourite Polestar 2 in its wake.

    Speaking to CarExpert at the pricing announcement of the BYD Seal in Sydney tonight, Luke Todd, the CEO of EV Direct, which distributes BYD in Australia, said that many would agree that the Seal is a better car than the Model 3 and that while Tesla has led the way in normalising electric vehicles, BYD’s ambitions are much more significant.

    “We really respect what Tesla has done, we don’t like to talk too much about what Tesla has done because they have done so many hard yards over the last decade or two, but what we try to do at BYD is to take on the whole automotive industry,” said Mr Todd.

    “Obviously, Tesla is really prominent in the market with the Model Y, but this [Seal] vehicle is a vehicle that can compete with the whole industry, that’s our mission at BYD. Yes, it’s better priced than the Model 3 and many will say it’s a better car, but we don’t want to compare too much.”

    The entry-level BYD Seal Dynamic Standard Range starts at $49,888 before on-road costs, while the Seal Premium Extended Range comes in at $58,798 and the top-spec Seal Performance AWD will set you back $68,798. You can see the full detail and specifications here.

    “We really wanted that dynamic model, or entry model, this has 460km range, it’s a luxurious car… it feels big, it’s very safe, it will compete when you line it up against any other vehicle in the segment.”

    BYD’s rise in Australia is set to continue with no supply issues and ultra-sharp pricing. The brand’s introduction of a BYD ute and a larger SUV next year will form part of its plan to introduce two new models yearly for the foreseeable future, although a seven-seater SUV is still some time away.

    “We are just beginning, three models in 18 months, five models in just under two and half years and then more and more after that,” said Mr Todd.

    According to Mr Todd, BYD can re-engineer, re-tool its production line and convert one of its vehicles from left to right-hand drive in just 12 months.

    While the BYD Seal and Tesla Model 3 are set to go head-to-head for the crown of the best-selling electric sedan in Australia, the Chinese brand is set to continue its expansion with more flagship stores opening nationally to join the megastore in Sydney. The next is the Brisbane store in Fortitude Valley which opens this week.

    In September just gone BYD delivered 702 cars in Australia, against Tesla’s 5177. While this may seem low against the U.S. giant, BYD is decimating brands like Polestar, which managed just 111 sales in the same period.

    Alborz Fallah

    Alborz is the founder of CarAdvice (sold to Nine and now Drive) and co-founder of CarExpert. He is an honourary adjunct professor & entrepreneur in residence at the University of QLD. He loves naturally-aspirated V8s, V10s and V12s and is in denial about the impending death of the internal combustion engine. The best way to reach him is via Instagram.

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