Dubbed the “Seagull,” the car was recently unveiled at the Shanghai auto show, and according to experts, it is expected to become China’s best-selling car within six months of its launch. And with good reason: the Seagull will cost a mere 78,000 yuan (about $11,200, as of early May) and, with two available versions, travel 305 to 405 kilometers (about 190 to 252 miles) per charge, according to Reuters.
Making EVs an option that the average consumer can afford — as opposed to the super-luxury item they were when they first arrived on the scene — is crucial to breaking our reliance on gas-powered cars. BYD’s Seagull definitely does that, with a price tag that is less than half of what any other EV on the market costs.
Unfortunately, the Seagull is not going to be available to U.S. customers any time soon, as BYD is currently taking a cautious approach when it comes to expanding into the U.S. market, largely due to the political tensions between China and the U.S.
That means that, for the time being, American customers will have to console themselves with the fact that EV prices in the U.S. have also been dropping recently, although not nearly to the $11,200 level. The lowest-priced EV currently available to U.S. customers is the Chevy Bolt, which starts at $26,500 and also qualifies for the $7,500 tax credit that was part of the Inflation Reduction Act.
Whenever the Seagull does make it to the U.S., it is sure to be a big seller as long as it maintains that low price tag. And in the meantime, it’s a great thing for the planet that so many people who may not have previously been able to afford an EV will now be able to make the switch.
Written by: Jeremiah Budin