• Chinese EV company BYD plans to introduce its bargain hatchback Seagull 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.

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

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

While European consumers won't see that same price due to tariffs and local standards, according to Bloomberg, BYD executives have said that the car is expected to sell for less than 20,000 euros or $21,500.

BYD's Seagull already went overseas when it was introduced in smaller EV markets like 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.

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

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

But a study on US demand for electric cars from earlier this year by analytics firm GBK collective showed that half of US drivers would consider going electric or hybrid if there were cheaper alternatives, and Biden just further nixed any opportunity for a Chinese company to enter the US market.

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

This means that 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 like 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 on robotaxis, analysts said that a cheaper model is more important if the company is looking for a turnaround amid slumping sales. Musk announced in an earnings call in late April that a cheap Tesla is coming.

Days after Musk's assurance, Ford CEO Jim Farley also confirmed in an earnings call that the company is working on EVs that will 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 did not respond to a request for comment.

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