China's $10,000 EV is coming to Europe. Sorry, America.

  • The Chinese automaker BYD is planning to introduce its bargain Seagull electric hatchback to Europe in 2025.

  • The car's base model sells for less than $10,000 in China.

  • Meanwhile, automakers operating in the US are still slow to provide a more affordable EV option.

As some US drivers pine for more affordable electric-vehicle options, America is left to watch the rest of the world get access to some of the cheapest EVs on the market.

The Chinese automaker BYD, Tesla's largest rival in China, announced last month that it was planning to bring its affordable Seagull electric hatchback to Europe as soon as 2025, according to Bloomberg.

The Seagull's base model sells for less than $10,000 in China.

Bloomberg reported that while European consumers wouldn't see that same price because of tariffs and local standards, BYD executives said the car was expected to sell for less than 20,000 euros, or about $21,500.

BYD's Seagull already went overseas when it was introduced in smaller EV markets such as Mexico, where the car is sold as the Dolphin Mini for about $21,000. And its plans to expand into European territory only increase BYD's position as a dominant global force in the EV auto sector.

US drivers are meanwhile becoming increasingly isolated when it comes to access to cheaper alternatives from the Chinese brand.

Business Insider reported in March that the chances of BYD coming to America were already slim to none because of a combination of demand and geopolitical tensions. The Biden Administration said in February that it would be investigating Chinese automakers because of national-security concerns that they were collecting sensitive data from consumers.

In a survey earlier this year by the analytics firm GBK Collective, half of the US drivers interviewed said they'd consider buying an electric or hybrid car for their next vehicle. Those respondents who didn't already own an EV, however, had a lower median budget, and Biden just further nixed any opportunity for a Chinese company to enter the US market.

The White House announced Thursday that it would be applying a 100% tax on EVs from Chinese brands, citing unfair trade practices and threats to US businesses.

This means US consumers just have to hope that automakers free to operate in America will provide an affordable option under $30,000.

So far, big brands such as Tesla or Ford have been slow to deliver.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has for years teased the idea of an under-$30,000 EV.

After Reuters reported in April that Tesla was shifting its focus to robotaxis, analysts said a cheaper model was more important if the company was looking for a turnaround amid slumping sales. Musk announced in an earnings call in late April that a cheap Tesla was coming.

Days after Musk's assurance, Ford CEO Jim Farley also confirmed in an earnings call that the company was working on EVs that would cost as low as $25,000 to $30,000.

"Increasingly, our bet will be on our new small, affordable platform developed by our team on the West Coast," he said.

Spokespeople for BYD, Tesla, and Ford didn't respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.

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