BYD Seal Lands In Mexico To Taunt The Tesla Model 3 From The Other Side Of The Border

The BYD Seal, which is considered one of the better competitors to the Tesla Model 3, has officially launched in North America, according to CarNewsChina. But don’t get your hopes too high because the EV’s arrival in the United States is still uncertain.

But take a trip over the border to Mexico, and you’ll be able to check out the Chinese battery-powered car in person–along with its sticker price.

Representing the fifth battery-powered car to be sold in Mexico by BYD, after the Han sedan, Tang SUV, Yuan Plus crossover, and Dolphin hatchback, the Seal starts at 778,800 pesos, or about $44,800, for the entry-level rear-wheel drive version.

This comes with a 150-kilowatt (201 horsepower) rear-mounted electric motor and a 61.44-kilowatt-hour lithium iron phosphate (LFP) Blade battery pack that enables a WLTP-rated range of 285 miles (460 kilometers).

There’s also an all-wheel drive version that features two electric motors making a combined 390 kW (529 hp) and a bigger 82.56-kWh LFP Blade battery that offers a WLTP range of 323 miles (520 km). The AWD costs 888,800 pesos, which translates to about $52,000.

Now for the price comparison. In the U.S., the Tesla Model 3 is cheaper, starting at $38,990, but in Mexico, the American EV is actually more expensive than the imported Chinese sedan, with a base MSRP of 881,900 pesos, which is about $50,500. 

It’s worth noting that BYD doesn’t sell any of its passenger cars in the United States at the moment, but it’s planning to do so in the future, with a Mexican factory being under consideration. With this being said, the Chinese manufacturer has a presence in the U.S., but for electric buses, assembling mainly school buses at its factory in Lancaster, California.

Chinese cars in general are a very hot topic in the U.S. Due to continued geopolitical and trade tensions between the two countries, Chinese-made cars are subject to stiff 27.5% tariffs, including from established brands like Volvo, and that is keeping companies like BYD from selling in the U.S. for now. But while the tariff is unlikely to vanish anytime soon, BYD and the other major Chinese automakers have huge global plans. And in theory, building cars at their own factories in Mexico—which many of them are planning to do—allows them to sell in the U.S. without the tariffs.

The question is, would American buyers go for a BYD Seal over a Tesla Model 3? In the next few years, we may just find out.