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In-depth reviews

BYD Dolphin hatchback - Range, charging & running costs

“More expensive rivals charge faster, but you can’t scoff at the BYD Dolphin’s range – not at this price”

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review
Range, charging & running costs Rating

4.5 out of 5

First things first, bar the Citroen Ami quadricycle, there is no cheaper electric car currently on sale in the UK. Prices may have risen ever so slightly since the BYD Dolphin’s specs were first announced in June 2023, but the car still undercuts all of its main rivals; few would argue against its shining value-for-money credentials.

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Base cars with the 45kWh battery (available from early 2024) get a range of up to 211 miles, while Boost models fitted with the same battery but more powerful motor can do 193 miles on a charge. Step up to Comfort or Design spec (available now) and you get a larger 60kWh battery, which BYD says will manage up to 265 miles – more than enough for most buyers, we suspect.

The BYD Dolphin is efficient, too. In our experience – admittedly in warm weather down in central Spain – the electric supermini returned around 4mi/kWh. However, this included plenty of faster mountain roads, as well as longer motorway stints; we reckon more than 5mi/kWh would be possible in normal driving, particularly around town.

Topping up the batteries is pretty straightforward, too. Those who can charge at home will be able to replenish the cells overnight, while rapid charging from 30 to 80% is possible in 29 minutes, according to BYD. Dolphins with the big battery can charge at up to 88kW, while the smaller battery cars max out at 60kW. For reference, the Peugeot e-208, Vauxhall Corsa Electric and Citroen e-C4 can all charge at up to 100kW.

But as with all electric cars, the BYD Dolphin is currently exempt from the London Congestion Charge and other low-emission zones, while its sub-£40k list price will protect it from the luxury car tax that is likely to be implemented soon.

Model 

Battery size

Range

Active

45kWh

211 miles

Boost

45kWh

193 miles

Comfort, Design

60kWh

265 miles

Insurance

Insurance groups for the BYD Dolphin haven’t yet been confirmed, though we’d expect premiums to be reasonable – if a little more expensive than you’d pay for an equivalent petrol-powered supermini. Electric cars may be simpler to operate, but purchase and repair costs are still not quite on par with their combustion-engined equivalents.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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