What is BYD?

June 12, 2024 by

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You might have seen BYD plastered all over the Euro 2024 coverage. The car company is an official partner of the tournament – but what is BYD, and what do you need to know?

If you’ve been watching Euro 2024 and wondering who, or what, is BYD, you’re probably not alone. That’s because the BYD name is fairly new to Europe, but it was founded in China in 1995 and has grown to become one of the biggest electric car manufacturers in the country.

It specialises in battery technology, and has already started bringing its range of zero-emission vehicles to the UK. In fact, you might have already travelled in one, because there are nearly 2,000 BYD buses here already.

Here’s everything you need to know about BYD…

What is BYD, and what does it stand for?

BYD Company is a technology company based in Shenzhen, China. Its cars are built by a subsidiary called BYD Auto, which has established itself as one of China’s biggest car makers and now has its sights set on Europe, launching its first cars here in 2023. However, BYD as a whole also builds batteries, semiconductors and more.

BYD stands for Build Your Dreams, and while that’s plastered across the back of one of the company’s early models, newer cars simply have the BYD logo, because Europeans thought the slogan was a bit cheesy…

Regardless, BYD’s models are generally stylish and well made, ranging from affordable hatchbacks to sleek saloons. They’re mostly all-electric vehicles, but the Seal U has just gone on sale in the UK and has a plug-in hybrid engine.

Can you buy BYD cars in the UK?

Yes, you can buy BYD cars in the UK. There are currently four models on sale, with more on the way. Here’s a rundown of the company’s range:

BYD Atto 3

Wowscore: 6/10
The Atto 3 was BYD’s first car to go on sale in the UK. There’s plenty to like, because the interior is well put together and has some quirky design features, while it’s also comfortable to drive. However, the boot is quite small and the rear seats are pretty cramped. It’s the least appealing of BYD’s models.

BYD Dolphin

Wowscore: 8/10
Much more appealing is the BYD Dolphin. It looks small in pictures but it’s actually quite a roomy hatchback. You get loads of kit for your cash and it’s really well priced, proving electric cars don’t have to be extortionate. Interior quality is a bit mixed, and you have to pay quite a lot more for the big battery version, but the Dolphin is a great all-rounder.

BYD Seal

Wowscore: 8/10
The BYD Seal is a direct alternative to the excellent Tesla Model 3, and is worthy of consideration because it manages to be both comfortable but also fun to drive on a twisty road. It goes a long way between charges, and like the Dolphin it’s well-equipped for the price. The boot isn’t that big, and the touchscreen is fiddly to use, though.

BYD Seal U (Coming September)

The BYD Seal U has just gone on sale in the UK, with deliveries expected to begin in September, and while we haven’t been behind the wheel yet, what we do know is that this is the first BYD model to be sold here that’s not all-electric – though its plug-in hybrid engine does have an impressive electric-only range of 60 miles. The exterior styling is clearly inspired by the Seal saloon, while inside you get the same big infotainment display.

BYD Seagull (Coming 2025)

BYD has confirmed that the Seagull will be sold in the UK. It’s expected in 2025 and will be an affordable small electric car, similar to the Dacia Spring and Citroen e-C3. The new model has not yet been revealed, but the current car has a range of up to 250 miles, which is impressive for an EV of this size.

What is BYD NEV?

You might have seen BYD NEV on advertising hoardings around the Euro stadiums, but what are BYD NEVs? NEV stand for New Energy Vehicle. It’s a bit of a marketing blurb and is used to describe the collecting term for electric cars and plug-in hybrid cars combined. BYD says it was the first car manufacturer in the world to make 5 million NEVs when it reached that milestone in 2023

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