Electric Car

Does BYD Dolphin Mini really stand up to compact engines with combustion engines?

The BYD Dolphin Mini arrived as the electric car that would displace conventional compacts (with internal combustion engines). The launch of the model was like a bucket of cold water, as the Chinese brand let it be known that the vehicle would be sold for less than R$100,000, but the electric one arrived for R$116,000.

Even more expensive, is the BYD Dolphin Mini capable of taking on conventional compact hatchbacks – such as the Volkswagen Polo, Hyundai HB20 and Chevrolet Onix – in its price range?

Is the 75hp electric motor up to the task?

Let’s start by ‘attacking’ what seems to be the big unknown about the BYD Dolphin Mini, performance. The model uses an electric motor with just 75 hp of power, something uninspiring. To give you an idea, this is the power of the 1.0 Firefly engine that powers an entry-level Fiat Argo.

Another open question was how the 13.8kgfm torque, similar to that of an Argo, but with the 1.3 Firefly engine, would manifest itself, since electric cars can transmit all this force without needing to increase revs. Well, let’s get to the answers.

The Dolphin Mini has good performance for driving in the city, which is its habitat. Slow traffic doesn’t require a lot of power, and the advantage in torque helps to overcome steep climbs and take small ‘stretches’, but nothing that impresses, like electric cars with more powerful engines.

But on the road the small electric car shows its limitations. On long uphill stretches, the speed does not exceed 100km/h, even with the vehicle completely unloaded, forcing the driver to move the car into the slow lanes. On a flat plane, the BYD Dolphin Mini can reach a maximum speed of 130 km/h, but a second problem arises: stability.

Suspension does not convey confidence

In sharper curves, the BYD Dolphin Mini’s body tilts a lot, taking away the driver’s confidence. Another complicated point is that the shock absorbers are unable to stop the movement of the springs, causing the car to oscillate.

The suspension travel is also short, with the occurrence of dry knocks. Ultimately, this is a security flaw and requires an urgent review by BYD.

Measuring 3.78 meters in length and with a wheelbase of 2.50m, the Mini Dolphin is an agile car in traffic and when maneuvering. With electric assistance, the steering has adequate weights.

Another highlight of the model is the reduced weight for an electric vehicle, just 1,239 kilos.

BYD Dolphin Mini battery and consumption

The 38.8 kWh battery provides a range of 280 kilometers, using the Inmetro cycle. The capacity is good for a compact electric car that runs in the city, where the owner will have a charging point. However, the lack of public charging infrastructure is still a problem for taking the road, even over short distances.

In a brief journey of 100 kilometers with the BYD Dolphin Mini, mainly on the road, 36% of the battery was consumed, spent as follows:

  • Until we reached the highway, we drove 7 kilometers in the city, when no less than 5% of the battery was used up. The explanation for this high consumption is that the car was parked in the sun on a very hot day, and most of this energy was probably spent on air conditioning;
  • We continued on the highway for another 32 kilometers, when 13% of the battery was used up. Here the high speed and lack of braking were responsible for the energy expenditure;
  • We join a secondary road for another 10 kilometers. As most of this section was downhill, the car recovered 2% of battery with deceleration and braking;
  • However, we returned along the same stretch, now with long climbs, which cost us 9% of battery until we got back to the highway;
  • On the way back, the 32 kilometers on the highway consumed 11% of the battery, again with high speed and little regeneration;
  • Finally, the 8 kilometers in the city were compensated by the slowdowns, and didn’t ‘cost’ the battery anything.

Finishing and internal space

The interior of the BYD Dolphin Mini has a good finish for the category, with synthetic material inserts on the dashboard, doors, steering wheel, armrest and seats, which have a sporty design.

The panel was designed to take into account that the vast majority of controls are on the 10-inch screen. The problem is that it’s even difficult to quickly find some commands that should be closer at hand.

The digital instrument panel is 7 inches, but the configurable part is very small. In the center console, the privileged space was allocated to the cell phone’s wireless charger, leaving the driver of the BYD Dolphin Mini surrounded by screens.

The internal space is just ok, requiring the old negotiation between front and back passengers. Remembering that the BYD Dolphin Mini was only approved for 4 occupants. The wheelbase is better than that of the Fiat Mobi and Renault Kwid, but it doesn’t surpass any other compact hatchback.

The 230 liter trunk is ok for the urban proposal of the BYD Dolphin Mini, but here we have two problems :

  • The most serious thing is not to bring a spare tire, which would take up a large part of the space, but a sealant, which does not work in all cases of tire damage;
  • The second mistake is not having luggage, leaving the contents of the trunk in the eyes of smart people.

To expand the trunk, the rear seat can only be folded down completely.


In the BYD Dolphin Mini equipment package, highlights are:

  • LED headlights;
  • 16-inch wheels;
  • Digital air conditioning;
  • 6 airbags;
  • In-person key;
  • Multimedia with 10-inch rotating screen;
  • Button-activated parking brake.

Technical sheet: BYD Dolphin Mini


Power: 75 hp

Torque: 13.8kgfm


Maximum speed: 130 km/h

Acceleration: 14.9 s

BATTERY 38.8 kWh

Front: McPherson

Rear: Torsion axle


Front: Ventilated discs

Rear: Solid discs


Length: 3.78m

Width: 1.71m

Height: 1.58m

Wheelbase: 2.50m

Ground height: 11cm

TRUNK 230 liters
WEIGHT 1,239
TIRES  175/55 R16

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *