BYD’s new electric SUV arrives here next year

New Seal U model will get a first outing at the Munich motor show

BYD Seal U

BYD — an acronym for Build Your Dreams, a slightly odd name for one of the biggest and now most influential of Chinese car makers — has barely set foot in the Irish market yet here we are talking about its sixth European model, the Seal U. That’s U for Utility, of course.

BYD already sells the Atto 3 electric crossover in Ireland, and that will be shortly joined by Tesla Model-3-sized Seal saloon and the VW ID.3-alike Dolphin hatchback. The company also has the Han saloon (an electric BMW i5 rival) and the Tang SUV (a foil for the Audi Q4) waiting in the wings.

Making its debut in Munich will be this, the Seal U SUV, which is fairly obviously closely related to the Seal saloon. BYD says that it will come in two versions with differing battery sizes, offering ranges of either 420km or 500km. It’ll go on sale in Ireland early in the new year.

BYD Seal U

Munich will also be the first chance for European buyers to see the Seal saloon close up, before it goes on sale in the autumn. A direct Tesla Model 3 and BMW i4 rival, the Seal boasts ranges of up to 570km, and a four-wheel drive high-performance model boasting 530hp and a 3.8sec 0-100km/h time.


The Seal is also something of a technology demonstrator for BYD’s tech, showing off its CTB (Cell-to-Body) technology which makes the battery pack a stressed section of the car’s body, potentially improving safety and structural rigidity. There’s also iTAC (Intelligent Torque Adaption Control), a more sophisticated version of traction control.

BYD will also be using Munich to show the fruits of a collaboration with Mercedes-Benz. The Denza D9 is a big MPV with a massive, heavily-chromed grille that would be competition for the likes of the Maxus MIFA9 and Merc’s own EQV — if it comes to Europe. For now, BYD is simply saying that Denza might make it to these shores, and that it’s in Munich to: “tease the motoring public and attract the attention of the European audience.”

Michael Shu, General Manager and Managing Director, BYD Europe and International Cooperation Division, says: “BYD is truly dedicated to introducing innovative and high-tech eco-friendly cars to the European market. The IAA in Munich offers us the perfect platform to showcase our latest BYD-models. We are also committed to offering choice with product portfolio, equipped with our latest game-changing technology, to satisfy different customer demands and provide localised service. We head to the Munich Motor Show with great excitement, where we reveal more about our technological innovations and products, and continue to build relationships with likeminded partners in Europe for win-win cooperation.”

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring