BYD is exporting another SUV to global markets, and it’s unclear whether this particular SUV is the one the company’s local arm said is due in the next 12 months.
The Chinese carmaker has announced it will launch its new Song Plus Champion Edition electric SUV in Europe as the Seal U. According to Car News China it’s set to make its debut at this year’s Munich motor show in September, and then launch in European markets in late 2023 or early 2024.
A spokesperson for local BYD distributor EVDirect said a mid-size SUV will be “on the product list for sale and delivery in 2024”. They couldn’t confirm the exact model and type at this stage.
This isn’t a brand new model, but rather an update of the Song Plus that debuted back in 2020.
Given this electric SUV is being called Seal U in international marks, this means BYD is expanding the Seal series which currently comprises the Seal EV, as well as the recently launched Seal DM-i plug-in hybrid.
The only differences in terms of styling between the BYD Song Plus Champion Edition and the Seal U is the lack of Song badging or the ‘Build Your Dreams’ wordmark.
The BYD Seal U is built on the company’s e-platform 3.0, which underpins models like the Seal, Dolphin and Atto 3.
It measures in at 4785mm long, 1890mm wide, and 1660mm tall with a 2765mm wheelbase, almost identical in footprint to the Hyundai Santa Fe.
It slots in under the older Tang electric SUV offered in Europe, which measures 4870mm long.
There are two powertrain options in the Seal U, with a single electric motor producing 150kW paired with a 71.8kWh lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery, and a more powerful single electric motor producing 160kW and paired with a larger 87kWh LFP battery.
The former has a claimed range of 520km according to lenient CLTC testing, and the latter has a claimed range of 605km.
Inside the Seal U retains the same interior as the Song Plus Champion Edition, including the 15.6-inch rotatable touchscreen, digital instrument cluster, and retractable gear selector.
The only difference inside is the Seal U has a black interior, whereas the Song Plus Champion Edition has a white and blue interior.
In China BYD sells two main series of vehicles: one is called Dynasty and the other is Ocean. The former initially comprised all the cars that were named after a Chinese dynasty like Song and Tang, and the latter comprised cars with marine-themed names like Dolphin, Seal, and Seagull, among others.
Over time BYD has got a little messy with the vehicles in these two series, with some moving from Dynasty to Ocean. The Song Plus Champion Edition, along with its Song Plus DM-i Champion Edition plug-in hybrid counterpart, are the latest to shift from the Dynasty series to the Ocean series.
As previously reported, BYD is bringing four new electric vehicles (EVs) to Australia in the next 12 months.
These four EVs include the Dolphin hatchback, Seal sedan, previously confirmed “muscle ute”, as well as the unspecified SUV.
Deliveries of the Dolphin will begin in the fourth quarter of this year, and BYD’s local distributor EVDirect says the Seal will come soon but didn’t confirm specific launch timing.
“We’re excited to be bringing the types of cars Australians want,” Luke Todd, CEO of BYD’s local distributor EVDirect, told CarExpert.
According to the company’s Australian distributor, the plan is for BYD to achieve 50,000 annual sales here over the next few years, supported by an expansion of its EV line-up – including sports sedans and utes.