The Seagull is a Chinese EV that poses a threat to the US auto industry

The Washington Post

LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) — A tiny, low-priced electric car called the Seagull has American automakers and politicians trembling.
Tariffs on imported Chinese vehicles probably will keep the Seagull away from America’s shores for now, and it likely would sell for more than 12 grand if imported.
BYD, which stands for “Build Your Dreams,” could be a nightmare for the U.S. auto industry.
It’s a when.” U.S. politicians and manufacturers already see Chinese EVs as a serious threat.
The Biden administration on Tuesday is expected to announce 100% tariffs on electric vehicles imported from China, saying they pose a threat to U.S. jobs and national security.
Hoses, for instance, have to meet longstanding requirements in combustion engines for strength and ability to carry fluid under high pressure, many of which aren’t needed for electric vehicles, he added.
A brief drive through some connected parking lots by a reporter showed that it runs quietly and handles curves and bumps as well as more costly electric vehicles.
Some members of Congress are urging Biden to ban imports of Chinese vehicles, while others have proposed even steeper tariffs.

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LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) — American politicians and automakers are quaking over the Seagull, a small, inexpensive electric vehicle.

Launched by Chinese automaker BYD last year, the car costs about $12,000 in China, but it drives smoothly and is built with craftsmanship comparable to that of U.S. S. produced three-fold more expensive electric vehicles. A version with a smaller range costs less than $10,000.

If the Seagull were imported, it would probably sell for more than $12,000. However, tariffs on Chinese automobile imports will probably keep it out of American borders for the time being.

However, China’s quick rise in the production of affordable EVs has the potential to upend the global auto industry in ways not seen since the arrival of Japanese manufacturers amid the 1970s oil crises. “Build Your Dreams,” or BYD, may prove to be a nightmare for the U.S. s. automobile sector.

Vice president of AutoForecast Solutions in the Philadelphia area Sam Fiorani stated, “Any car company that’s not paying attention to them as a competitor is going to be lost when they hit their market.”. The arrival of BYD in the U.S. S. Market isn’t a condition. That is a matter of when. “.

U. S. Chinese EVs are already perceived as a significant threat by manufacturers and politicians. The Biden administration is anticipated to impose 100% tariffs on Chinese-imported electric vehicles on Tuesday, claiming that they represent a risk to U.S. S. both employment and national security.

Government-subsidized Chinese EVs “may end up being an extinction-level event for the U.S.,” according to a paper by the Alliance for American Manufacturing. s. car industry. “.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, told industry analysts earlier this year that, in the absence of trade barriers, Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) “will pretty much demolish most other car companies in the world.”. “.

EVs are expensive and targeted at a higher-income niche market outside of China. However, Chinese companies that aren’t yet well-known worldwide are providing accessible choices that will appeal to the general public, just like the U. s. To combat climate change, governments in Europe and many other countries are pushing for a move away from gasoline-powered automobiles.

“EVs did not become democratized by Western markets.”. According to Automobility Ltd. founder Bill Russo, “They gentrified EVs.”. consultation in Shanghai. Additionally, gentrification reduces the market’s potential size. China is all about democratizing electric vehicles, and it is this that will eventually make Chinese businesses successful when they expand internationally. “.

A company named Caresoft Global disassembled a Seagull that its China office had bought and shipped to the U.S. inside a sizable garage in an industrial area west of Detroit. s.

Terry Woychowski, the company president and a former chief engineer for General Motors’ large pickup trucks, described the vehicle as a “clarion call” for the U.S. S. auto industry, which lags China by years in producing affordable EVs.

45-year auto industry veteran Woychowski stated that following the teardown, he was left wondering if U. s. Manufacturers are able to adapt. “To compete, there will need to be some significant changes made to things,” he stated.

How BYD can produce the Seagull for such a low price is beyond the scope of any one miracle. The entire vehicle, which has a range of 252 miles (405 kilometers) on a single charge, is instead, according to Woychowski, “an exercise in efficiency.”. “.

Greater U. s. One factor in the calculation is labor costs. Due in large part to its experience producing batteries using lithium iron phosphate chemistry for consumer goods, BYD is able to maintain low costs. Compared to most modern lithium-ion batteries, they are less expensive but have a shorter range.

Woychowski stated that Americans are still learning how to produce batteries at a lower cost. With the help of Chinese company CATL, Ford is constructing a factory to produce lithium iron phosphate batteries.

A large number of parts, including electric motors, dashboards, bodies, and even headlights, are manufactured by BYD. 3 million vehicles were sold globally last year, which is another benefit of its enormous scale.

They have a huge advantage because they have everything in-house and vertically integrated, according to Woychowski.

BYD considers cost and efficiency in every design decision it makes for its cars. As an example, the Seagull has a single windshield wiper, which eliminates the need for a motor and an arm, saving weight, money, and installation labor.

U. s. In Woychowski’s opinion, automakers seldom design cars in this manner and end up paying extra for engineering. According to him, there are numerous requirements for hose strength and fluid-carrying capacity under high pressure that are not necessary for electric vehicles, but they are nonetheless necessary for combustion engines.

By reducing weight, the Seagull can use a smaller battery to travel farther between charges. The Seagull that Caresoft tested, for instance, weighs 2,734 pounds (1,240 kilograms), which is roughly 900 pounds less than the Chevrolet Bolt, a slightly larger GM electric car.

Hence, in order to stay competitive and shed methods accumulated over a century of automobile production, Detroit must rapidly relearn a great deal of design and engineering. The challenge, he said, will be figuring out which processes to maintain for quality and safety and which to discard because they are superfluous.

“You need to arrive with a serious attitude towards this task, and leave your preconceived notions outside,” Woychowski advised. “because things will need to be done differently on your end. “.

The Seagull has a high-quality feel despite its simple design. The doors shut with a strong click. Typically seen in more expensive cars, the stitching on the gray synthetic leather seats matches the vivid green color of the body. With electronic stability control, disc brakes at the back, and six air bags, the Seagull “Flying Edition” that Caresoft tested is equipped.

It handles curves and bumps just as well as more expensive electric vehicles, according to a reporter’s quick drive through a few connected parking lots. It also runs quietly.

The Seagull is brisk and would have no trouble entering a freeway in heavy traffic, even though its acceleration isn’t as quick as that of other EVs. Woychowski claims that the maximum speed is 81 mph, or 130 km/h.

BYD would need to alter its vehicles to comply with U.S. s. safety requirements, which are higher than those found in China. Woychowski claims that while crash testing hasn’t been done by Caresoft, he calculated that it would increase the price by a few thousand.

For roughly $21,000, which is double the price it costs domestically, BYD offers the Seagull—rebranded as the Dolphin Mini in some foreign markets—in four Latin American nations. In addition to covering transportation expenses, the higher price represents the potential for larger profits in less competitive markets than China.

Larger models like the Seal, which starts at 46,990 euros ($50,000) in France, are available from BYD throughout Europe. As per the China Passenger Car Association, the Chinese manufacturer’s predominant overseas markets during the initial two months of this year were Brazil and Thailand.

The Associated Press was informed by BYD last year that it is “still in the process” of determining whether to sell cars in the United States. BYD manufactures electric buses in California. S. Two company executives said in media interviews earlier this year that it is weighing sites for a factory in Mexico, but that would be for the Mexican market.

At a conference in May, the CEO of the company stated that there are no plans to sell electric vehicles in the United States. S.

In the United States, BYD EVs are not sold. S. primarily as a result of 27.5% tariffs on the sale price of Chinese automobiles upon their arrival at ports. The 25% tariff was imposed primarily by Donald Trump during his presidency, and Joe Biden maintained it. According to Trump, Biden’s support for the increase in EVs will cost U.S. S. factories, outsourcing the labor to China.

The legislation and policies aimed at constructing a U.S. S. base for EV manufacturing. The government is also looking into Chinese-made automobiles that have the ability to collect private data.

Congressmen have suggested even higher tariffs, while some are pleading with Biden to outlaw the importation of Chinese automobiles. This includes automobiles produced in Mexico by Chinese businesses, which would now primarily enter the market tariff-free.

Former Ford CEO Jim Farley has seen Caresoft’s work on the Seagull and witnessed BYD’s explosive global expansion, particularly in Europe. His goal is to relocate to a new company. He told analysts earlier this year that a small “skunkworks” team is creating a new, small EV from the ground up with the goal of keeping costs low and quality high.

According to Farley, Chinese manufacturers had virtually no EV sales in Europe two years ago, but now they account for 10% of the market for electric vehicles. They’ll probably sell in the United States and export to other countries. s.

Ford is getting ready to refute that. Farley remarked, “Don’t take anything for granted.”. The CEO in question doesn’t.

. “.

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