Wall Street analysts from Swiss investment bank UBS recently got up close and personal with a BYD Seal electric saloon to see how it compares to the segment's leader, the Tesla Model 3.
Analysts at UBS tore down a BYD Seal – here's something you probably didn't know Wall Street analysts do – and said other automakers, including Tesla, should worry.
The Seal mid-size electric saloon made by Chinese EV giant BYD, which is backed by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, is described by UBS as a great Model 3 alternative for a fraction of the cost.
In a note to clients picked up by Business Insider, the bank said that tearing down the Seal strengthened its belief that Chinese carmakers are here to stay and dominate the global electric car market.
According to UBS, the Seal rivals the Model 3 in many ways at a "10-20 percent lower selling price." Among the BYD Seal's advantages over the Model 3, analysts mentioned the larger interior space, rotational central cockpit screen, and 5G connectivity.
The bank also said that when comparing power performance, cost efficiency, and energy density, the BYD Seal's electric system "is in-line with the competition despite being at the relatively lower end of the range, especially compared to the leading solution provided by Tesla's Model 3."
Gallery: BYD SEAL
UBS also noted that BYD's cell-to-body battery technology enables more in-vehicle legroom, improved performance, lower manufacturing costs, and a low car profile, which favours aerodynamics.
"The floor carpet of the passenger cabin is directly above the battery cell stack, and the top cover of the battery pack serves as the floor of the car body, eliminating one more layer of aluminium or steel," analysts said.
The teardown also revealed that unlike Tesla, BYD appears to avoid investing in autonomous driving technology, opting to equip the Seal with a third-party Level 2 advanced driving assistance system instead.
Ultimately, UBS analysts said the BYD Seal is "cost competitive, thanks to its vertical integration, suitable specs, and volume scale."
Should Tesla really be worried? UBS seems to think so, noting that BYD aside, other Chinese carmakers also have the capability to gain market share from foreign brands on a "structural and continuous" basis.
Analysts also suggested it's not unlikely Chinese EVs will find success in the US in the near future after making significant progress in Europe.
"Chinese carmakers currently have systematic EV cost advantages versus US and European incumbents while offering wider product line-ups than Tesla and covering more segments (especially mass market)," UBS analysts concluded.