BYD targets Europe with electric and plug-in hybrid Seal U SUV

Taller and wider sibling of Seal electric sedan brings more interior space to go with competitive range

By Charlie Martin, Autocar UK calendar 27 Feb 2024 Views icon2423 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

BYD has presented its first plug-in hybrid for the European market at the 2024 Geneva Motor Show and detailed its specifications ahead of an inevitable UK launch. 

The new BYD Seal U is a slightly taller and wider sibling to the Seal electric sedan and is already sold in the brand’s home country of China as the BYD Song. Measuring 4775mm long, 1890mm wide and 1670mm high, the SUV is significantly larger than the sedan. It has a much larger boot, at 552 litres – larger than that of the Peugeot 3008 and the Skoda Karoq. 

In China, the Seal U is available with an electric and a PHEV powertrain. The EV offers either a 71kWh or 87kWh lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery for between 516 and 601 kilometres of range on the Chinese CLTC test cycle. 

The PHEV meanwhile combines a 106bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine, an 18.3kWh battery, a 194bhp electric motor and a CVT to offer around 68 miles / 109 kilometres of electric-only range.

The 18.3kWh battery can be charged from 30-80% in around 35 minutes, and it comes with vehicle-to-load charging capability as standard. 

Standard equipment on the Seal U includes 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, vegan leather upholstery, wireless phone charging, an Infinity premium sound system and the brand’s 15.6in rotatable infotainment system. 

Charging capabilities are yet to be detailed, but the Seal saloon (which is based on the same e-Platform 3.0) can replenish its battery at rates up to 150kW, which is on a par with many current EVs.

Two electric motors are offered in the electric Seal U, putting out 204bhp and 218bhp along with 229lb ft of torque.

BYD confirmed the Seal U would be sold in the UK at the Munich motor show last year.

The SUV is likely to be priced at a slight premium over its saloon counterpart, which is priced at just over £45,000, mirroring the relationship between the rival Tesla Model 3 and Model Y. It represents the next stage in BYD's European expansion, which began with the Atto 3 electric crossover late last year and then the £25,000 Dolphin electric hatchback.

BYD is the world’s biggest manufacturer of PHEVs and EVs, having sold 1.8 million such vehicles in 2022 and more than 3.0 million in 2023.

BYD Seal EV India launch on March 5

Electric car, SUV and MPV sales in India jump 114% to over 81,000 units in CY2023

BYD sells over 3 million NEVs in 2023, electric car sales close gap to Tesla

Two million EVs power European car market to strongest post-pandemic year


Tags: BYD Seal U
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