Two of the public's most eagerly awaited electric saloons made their simultaneous debuts at the Munich Motor Show 2023 and can now be ordered in Europe. We're talking about the BYD Seal and the Tesla Model 3, with the former making its absolute debut on the market and the latter getting a major restyling.

The occasion is therefore perfect for a direct comparison of the four-door battery-powered cars that openly challenge each other in terms of extended range, on-board equipment and power. So let's start with our BYD Seal vs Tesla Model 3.

The BYD is little bigger

The first parallel we want to draw is that of exterior dimensions on which the BYD Seal proves to be a little bigger than the new Tesla Model 3 'Highland'.

  BYD Seal Tesla Model 3
Length 4,800 mm 4,720 mm
Width 1,875 mm 1,850 mm
Height 1,460 mm 1,441 mm
Wheelbase 2,920 mm 2,875 mm

To the Chinese car's 4.80 metres in length, the American responds with its 4.72 metres, while in terms of width and height the differences are minimal, as can be seen in the table above.

BYD Seal, la prova su strada

BYD Seal, la vista laterale

Nuova Tesla Model 3 (2023)

Tesla Model 3, la vista laterale

A slight advantage of the BYD Seal over its rival, also given by its more recent design, is its longer wheelbase, which touches 2.92 metres to guarantee more space in the passenger compartment.

Rounded styling and identical Cx

The two rivals sport a rounded, streamlined and very aerodynamic style and the BYD also uses the retractable handles made famous by Tesla.

BYD Seal, la prova su strada

BYD Seal, il tre quarti anteriore

Nuova Tesla Model 3 (2023)

Tesla Model 3 (2023), il tre quarti anteriore

Curiously enough, the coefficient of aerodynamic penetration (Cx) is identical between the two saloons at an excellent 0.219, making them among the most streamlined cars on the market.

More boot for the Tesla

The revamped Tesla Model 3, on the other hand, boasts a larger load capacity of the two luggage compartments, with the rear one holding 594 litres and the front 'frunk' holding 88 litres. The BYD Seal responds with its two luggage compartments of 400 litres and 53 litres.

  BYD Seal Tesla Model 3
Rear luggage compartment 400 l 594 l
Front luggage compartment 53 l 88 l
Total load capacity 453 l 682 l

Interior differences

The interiors of the two new electric saloons are quite different, with the American reducing the number of physical buttons even further in favour of operations made on the central 15.4-inch touch screen. The steering wheel paddles have also disappeared and the whole interior styling remains minimalist.

BYD Seal, la prova su strada

BYD Seal, gli interni

Nuova Tesla Model 3 (2023)

Tesla Model 3 (2023), gli interni

The Chinese, on the other hand, is a little more traditional, with buttons still available for various functions and the now traditional 15.6" touchscreen that can rotate from horizontal to vertical position.

Rear or four-wheel drive for both

We come to one of the most important aspects for any potential or actual customer of a local zero-emission car: the powertrain, which includes the number of motors, traction, battery, performance and range.

Both cars are available in two versions, single-motor with rear-wheel drive or twin-motor with all-wheel drive.

The Chinese RWD is a little more powerful and snappy

Comparing the two rear-wheel-drive setups, we notice that the BYD Seal Design has a small power advantage, coming in at 308 bhp against the 283 bhp (not officially declared) of the Tesla Model 3.

  BYD Seal Design Tesla Model 3
Power 308 BHP 283 BHP
Torque 360 Nm 420 Nm
Top speed 112 MPH 130 MPH
Acceleration time 0-100 km/h 5.9 seconds 6.1 seconds

In terms of torque, the American prevails with 420 Nm against the Chinese's 360 Nm. The top speed of the rear-wheel-drive Tesla has been reduced to 130 mph (210 km/h), but is still higher than the BYD's 112 mph (180 km/h). However, the Asian is quicker in the 0-100 test, with 5.9 seconds compared to the Californian's 6.1 seconds.

BYD advantage even with all-wheel drive

The same slight power advantage is repeated on the twin-engine all-wheel-drive versions, with the Seal Excellence-AWD touching 523 bhp and the Model 3 Long Range scoring 491 bhp.

  BYD Seal Excellence-AWD Tesla Model 3 Long Range
Power 523 BHP 491 BHP
Torque 670 Nm 493 Nm
Top speed 180 km/h 210 km/h
Acceleration time 0-100 km/h 3.8 seconds 4.4 seconds

In maximum torque, the Chinese car prevails this time with 670 Nm versus 493 Nm. The top speed limits remain unchanged, while the 0-100 acceleration once again sees the BYD ahead.

Tesla still leads in autonomy

Now let's talk about battery and range. Both Seals feature the BYD Blade structural battery with 82.5 kWh lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) chemistry, while the two Model 3 variants rely on a 57.5 kWh LFP and a 75 kWh NMC (nickel-manganese-cobalt), respectively.

  BYD Seal Design BYD Seal Excellence-AWD Tesla Model 3 Tesla Model 3 Long Range
Battery 82.5 kWh 82.5 kWh 57.5 kWh 75 kWh
Range 354 miles 323 miles 344 miles (319 miles with 19-inch rims) 421 miles (391 miles with 19" rims)
AC charging power 11 kW 11 kW 11 kW 11 kW
DC charging power 150 kW 150 kW 170 kW 250 kW

This guarantees a range of over 311 miles (500 km) for all models, with the Tesla Model 3 Long Range prevailing over all with its 421 miles (678 km). The Model 3 is also superior in direct current charging power, which maxes out at 250 kW.

BYD Seal, la prova su strada

La BYD Seal su strada

Nuova Tesla Model 3 (2023)

La Tesla Model 3 su strada

More attractive base price for Tesla (which has incentives)

Let's close with the price chapter, the one that sees a real 'head-to-head' on the price list. In terms of base price, the Tesla Model 3 wins with its €42,490 rear-wheel drive, a figure that gives it access to state incentives of up to €5,000 with scrapping.

The BYD Seal Design, on the other hand, starts at €46,890 and for the time being does without the ecobonus, while the €49,390 of the Seal Excellence-AWD is just below the €49,990 of the Model 3 Long Range.