BYD Confirms New Electric SUVs for New Zealand: Australia to Follow?


BYD recently confirmed with EVs & Beyond that the BYD Sea Lion, will be launched in the right-hand drive New Zealand market. The BYD Seal U has also been confirmed albeit it will only be available as a plug-in hybrid vehicle in New Zealand. Given the similarities in the current BYD model line-up between Australia and New Zealand - this is a strong signal these same models will launch in Australian in due course.

The Hybrid Path: BYD Seal U

byd seal u

While EV enthusiasts in Australia and New Zealand were eagerly awaiting the electric version of the Seal U, BYD has clarified that it will arrive only as a plug-in hybrid. This could decision reflects the global automotive trend of offering diverse electric and hybrid options to cater to different market needs.

A key difference to note with the BYD Seal U is that it uses BYD's 'DM-i' technology whereby the petrol engine only acts as a backup generator to the electric motors when the battery is depleted. In Australia, most if not all currently available PHEVs, the engine works in tandem with the electric motors to propel the vehicle forward.

The Seal U will feature an 18.3kWh battery providing an electric range of 100km or over 1000km in hybrid mode - both under the generous CLTC cycle.

BYD Sea Lion: Tesla Model Y Competitor?

byd sea lion

The Sea Lion joins the other models in BYD's Ocean series, including the Seagull, Dolphin, and Seal models. The SUV will feature the latest innovations, including the DiSus active suspension system, which is part of BYD's next-generation technology suite.

byd sea lion

Under the hood, the Sea Lion is expected to be a powerhouse, sharing the same drivetrain as the BYD Seal. The Sea Lion will offer a rear-wheel drive options starting at 150kW of power. For those seeking more performance, an all-wheel drive version with 380kW will also be available.

It will be built on on BYD's dedicated EV platform, e-Platform 3.0, similar to the Seal sedan and feature BYD's LFP blade battery technology.

The Sea Lion will feature two battery sizes: 71.8kWh and 87kWh. It will provide up to 602km of range under China’s CLTC cycle, which is generally 20% higher than the WLTP cycle.

Design and Size

The Sea Lion’s dimensions closely resemble those of the Tesla Model Y, making it an interesting comparison for potential buyers. This resemblance brings to mind the ongoing comparison between the BYD Seal and Tesla Model 3, as both BYD and Tesla continue to innovate in the electric vehicle space.

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