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In-depth reviews

BYD Dolphin review: range, battery & charging

Base Dolphin models offer a solid range considering the budget price tag, while top-spec cars have the ability to travel even further

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Range, battery & charging rating

4.0 out of 5

Model

Range

Wallbox charge time

Rapid charge time

Active

211 miles

6hrs (est 0-100%, 7.4kW)

28mins (30-80%, 60kW)

Boost

193 miles

6hrs (est 0-100%, 7.4kW)

28mins (30-80%, 60kW)

Comfort

265 miles

9hrs (est 0-100%, 7.4kW)

29mins (30-80%, 88kW)

Design

265 miles

9hrs (est 0-100%, 7.4kW)

29mins (30-80%, 88kW)

With base models offering a range of around 200 miles, the BYD Dolphin certainly has appeal as an inexpensive electric city runabout. Top models are capable of travelling further, though, and despite being much cheaper than the equivalent Vauxhall Corsa Electric or Peugeot e-208, can still cover more miles on a charge.

BYD Dolphin range

In time, two battery options (and three motors) will be available to BYD Dolphin customers. However, at launch, only the biggest 60kWh battery and most powerful 201bhp motor can be ordered. According to BYD, this setup provides a generous range of up to 265 miles, which is more than almost all of the Dolphin’s competition, bar Extended Range versions of the MG4 which can supposedly cover over 320 miles before needing to be plugged-in.

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During our time with the BYD Dolphin, we were able to easily achieve four miles per kWh, which translates to a range of around 240 miles – pretty close to BYD’s claimed figure. We’re sure that if you spend most of your time driving around town and have a light right foot, you could easily match or even surpass the 265-mile maximum. A standard-fit heat pump should help drivers get close to BYD’s claimed figures in the cold weather, too.

In 2024, buyers will also have the choice of two entry-level models, badged ‘Active’ and ‘Boost’. Both will come with a smaller 45kWh battery which, in the 93bhp Boost model, offers a range of up to 211 miles – competitive with even the top-of-the-range Fiat 500e and the new MINI Cooper Electric. The tradeoff with the ‘Boost’ model’s punchier 174bhp motor is a slightly reduced range of 193 miles.

Charge time

Frustratingly, BYD doesn’t offer 10-80% charge times like most manufacturers – instead choosing to quote a shorter 30-80% time of 29 minutes for the bigger battery Dolphin. The MG4 Long Range will charge considerably faster (135kW) which helps make it a more accomplished motorway car, though those driving mainly around town will be well served by the cheaper BYD.

Slower AC charging is possible at up to 11kW, though most UK homes fitted with a wallbox charger are pegged at 7kW. Topping up from empty to full at these speeds will take around nine hours – or a little less for the smaller battery due in 2024.

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Hello there, I’m Tom Jervis and I have the pleasure of being the Content Editor here at DrivingElectric. Before joining the team in 2023, I spent my time reviewing cars and offering car buying tips and advice on DrivingElectric’s sister site, Carbuyer. I also continue to occasionally contribute to the AutoExpress magazine – another of DrivingElectric’s partner brands. In a past life, I worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcast assistant for regional services in the east of England – constantly trying to find stories that related to cars!

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