BYD Low Price Entry

“The Western markets did not democratize EVs. They gentrified EVs,” said Bill Russo, the founder of the Automobility Ltd. consultancy in Shanghai. “And when you gentrify, you limit the size of the market.

Inside a huge garage in an industrial area west of Detroit, a company called Caresoft Global tore apart and reassembled a bright green Seagull that its China office purchased and shipped to the U.S.

Company President Terry Woychowski, a former chief engineer on General Motors’ big pickup trucks, said the car is a “clarion call” for the U.S. auto industry, which is years behind China in designing low-cost EVs.

After the teardown, Woychowski, who has been in the auto business for 45 years, said he was left wondering if U.S. automakers can adjust. “Things will have to change in some radical ways in order to be able to compete,” he said.

There’s no single miracle that explains how BYD can manufacture the Seagull for so little. Instead, Woychowski said the entire car, which can go 252 miles (405 kilometers) per charge, is “an exercise in efficiency.”

Higher U.S. labor costs are a part of the equation. BYD can keep costs down because of its expertise in making batteries – largely for consumer products – that use lithium iron phosphate chemistry. They cost less but have lower range than most current lithium-ion batteries.

the Seagull that Caresoft tested weighs 2,734 pounds (1,240 kilograms), about 900 pounds less than a Chevrolet Bolt, a slightly larger electric vehicle made by GM.

So Detroit needs to quickly re-learn a lot of design and engineering to keep up while shedding practices from a century of building vehicles. The trick will be determining which procedures to keep for safety and quality, and which to jettison because they aren’t needed, he said.

Even with its minimalist design, the Seagull still has a quality feel.

While the acceleration isn’t head-snapping like other EVs, the Seagull is peppy and would have no problems entering a freeway in heavy traffic. Woychowski says its top speed is limited to 81 mph, (130 kilometers per hour).

BYD would have to modify its cars to meet U.S. safety standards, which are more stringent than in China. Woychowski says Caresoft hasn’t done crash tests, but he estimated that would add $2,000 to the Seagull’s cost.

Would the predicted 100% tariff be applicable to Chinese EVs made & exported from Mexico or Hungary BYD factories? The proposed tariff seems to be a short term breathing space for US auto manufacturers.Especially if BYD decides to build a factory within the USA.


A relatively short (5-8 yr?) time period would (IMO) be reasonable. Especially if the vehicle was assembled in the US at first. Then, as local US content was added, the duties/taxes would be reduced appropriately. If a relatively high-capacity/quick-recharge battery was used, that would really drive the value in the eyes of the public.


That is a problem with too many of the EV’s still - prioritizing race car acceleration over things like lower cost, higher range.


I believe the tariff’s effect will not last more than 3 years. EVs built outside of China methinks do not have tariff imposed. BYD offerings are so cheap it could care less about the US tax credit.
Now BYD’s cheapy EVs are smallish in size and have less range than US offering. They would appeal younger drivers with few financial assets. and to familys that desire a local run around 2nd EV. If BYD has adequate quality; quite a few could be sold within the USA.

Very few EVs now quality for the full $7500 credit as most EV manufacturers use China batteries in their EVs supplied by CATL.

Ford & CATL are in cahoots to build a factory here.

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Race car acceleration is pretty cheap to add, but it does degrade your range if you’re “punching it” at every traffic light change. {{ LOL }}


Many participants in the industry have “gentrified” all of their products, systematically discontinuing lower priced models, while escalating the price of what is left, all enabled by steadily increasing the payment period. This year’s Chevy Equinox starts at $26,600. Next year’s model starts at $29,995.


Not any more. That plant drew a lot of political flack, due to Ford being partnered with a Chinese company, vs their Korean partners in other plants. Ford has taken the Michigan plant off the front burner, and turned out the fire.


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And yet, my model 3 with acceleration better than 99% of all cars on the road, still has a better MPGe than almost all other cars.


See the manganese post I just wrote.

But at what cost to the consumer? Sounds to me like the electric motor is considerably more powerful than it needs to be. How much cost could be saved with a motor with less power? Would that allow lower capacity battery packs as well, compounding the cost savings?



Also I’d like to see data of highway deaths& accidents of males 16-25 year olds EV vs IC vehicles.

Me too. My guess is that making VAROOoooM noises, not just g forces, is a key part of their testosterone extension addictive experience leading to accidents.

That type of male began with horses, went on to varooom cars, and then a big chunk went on to powerful cellphones and game consoles.

We shall see.

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That’s the interesting part. The consumer can choose. Even within a brand, for example Tesla has a RWD model 3 (medium acceleration using 1 motor and smaller battery) and an AWD model 3 (faster acceleration using 2 motors and a larger battery). Interestingly enough, Tesla managed to engineer them such that they get very close to the same overall efficiency! They use both motors when necessary (consumer demands more acceleration) and they use only one of the motors when just cruising along. And Hyundai has engineered some of their models to get even slightly more efficiency! These particular two EV models (Hyundai Ioniq 6 and Tesla model 3) have managed to engineer excellent efficiency into reasonably priced vehicles. Not only good efficiency, but efficiency way higher than any other vehicles in their price range!


It wouldn’t be a fair comparison. That’s because most EVs are modern cars that “look around” and attempt to avoid danger (they will steer for you and brake for you when necessary), but most ICE vehicles are less modern and therefore don’t have those features yet.

Yes and no. The only Tesla I’ve driven with any regularity is my brother’s Model 3. It is the single motor version. Even that is stupidly fast. There’s plenty of room for an even smaller motor in a similar sized car. I realize that is not Tesla’s niche, so I’m not expecting that from Tesla.

As to the efficiency, that is simply the nature of EVs in comparison to ICEs. ICEs waste an awful lot of the energy available to them. Cooling systems are energy-wasting systems. Friction in engines and transmissions is energy wasted.

So I’m not overly impressed with efficiency comparisons to ICEs. The least efficient EV is probably more energy efficient than the most efficient ICE. We’ve known that for a hundred years or more. We’ve had electric trains and city busses/trollys for a very long time. But they were only viable when we could get electric lines to them, since batteries weren’t up to the job until the last 20 years or so.


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I’m not an expert, but apparently electric motors don’t work that way. They need to be sized for their maximum demand (maybe 5 people plus luggage and needing to accelerate onto the highway from 35 to 65 reasonably), but because they also have the characteristic of instant maximum torque, they end up with good acceleration at lower speeds as well. ICE vehicle on the other hand are completely different, they don’t have anywhere near maximum torque until they are well into their higher revs, AND they have a transmission that changes the gearing ratio between the engine and the wheels a few times while accelerating, that by its very nature adds delay and perceived less continuous transfer of power to the wheels. What you are experiencing is simply an inherent difference between an internal combustion engine/transmission and an electric motor.

Even my lowly old Nissan Leaf with a “smaller motor” has decent acceleration compared to similar classed ICE vehicles.

I wasn’t entirely clear. THESE EVs (the two I mentioned) have higher efficiency than all the other EVs in their class. That is despite also having the impressive acceleration that you decried earlier.

And of course, all EVs will always be more efficient than ICE vehicles for the reasons you mentioned (all that wasted heat, moving parts and friction, and all that nasty oil to keep it cool, pumps, etc).


I think that this is because making the motor more efficient at medium and high speeds also gives you more torque at low speeds, thus the quick acceleration. And the car makers want higher efficiency to get more miles for a given battery size.

It would be interesting to se a plot of MPGe vs 0-60 times for all the EV motors out there.
Obviously the Cd matters as well.


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