New BYD electric hot hatch could pack more than 300bhp

BYD has revealed an outlandish hot hatch concept at the Beijing motor show, previewing an electric family car that it will launch later this year. 

It’s called the Ocean-M, and while the production version will no doubt be available without the touring car-style bodykit, low-profile tyres and big brake discs, the concept gives a good idea of what to expect. 

Beneath the aero addenda lies a circa-4.3m-long hatchback with an aggressive front end, distinctive LED lighting, electronic pop-out door handles and swollen arches. 

In shape and size, it is clearly envisioned as a rival for the MG 4 EV, Volkswagen ID 3, Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric and Smart #1. 

Technical details aren’t forthcoming, but BYD said the Ocean-M rides on a new EV platform with a motor mounted at the rear, taking its power from a new generation of cell-to-body batteries – no doubt using BYD’s trademark Blade composition.

The platform is thought to be an evolution of the e-Platform 3.0 that underpins the Atto 3 crossover, Seal saloon and Seal U SUV, likely dubbed 4.0. 

Despite talking up its “performance genes” and referring to the hatchback as a “pure-electric steel cannon”, BYD has given no indication of the Ocean-M’s power output. 

The most powerful rear-driven EV the Chinese brand currently sells is the 308bhp single-motor version of the Seal. If that motor is carried over into the Ocean-M, it would line it up neatly to contend with the new Volkswagen ID 3 GTX and Cupra Born VZ. 

No doubt the Ocean-M will also be available in more efficient, less performance-focused trims, with the Atto 3’s 201bhp motor likely to be deployed. 

The Ocean-M is expected to be the sixth car that BYD launches in the UK, following the Atto 3, Dolphin, Seal, Seal-U and upcoming Sea Lion crossover.

The Han saloon and Tang SUV that it sells in other European markets won’t come here, and there’s no confirmation on UK plans for BYD’s other car brands: Denza, Fangchengbao and Yangwang.

BYD has confirmed plans to put the Ocean-M on sale in China later this year at the equivalent of £22,000, but the European price list will start some way north of that. 

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