BYD Seal vs Tesla Model 3 specs comparison

BYD Seal versus Tesla Model 3

Toby Hagon

Posted June 11, 2024

The Tesla Model 3 and BYD Seal are two of Australia's top-selling medium sedans and electric cars. Which one is the best to buy? 

While traditional mid-size sedan segment options such as the Mazda6, Ford Mondeo, Subaru Liberty, Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata have either seen sales dive in recent years or models discontinued, for Tesla and EV newcomer BYD there are plenty of reasons to pop the champagne corks.

That’s because the Tesla Model 3 and BYD Seal have each encouraged thousands of buyers to return to traditional medium sedans instead of medium SUVs, joining the long-running Toyota Camry as top-sellers in the segment.

But which of these new mid-size electric cars is best?

The 2024 BYD Seal electric sedan features svelte and sporty styling. Images: Supplied
The new 2024 Tesla Model 3 evolves a successful sedan that is a top-selling car in Australia. Images: Supplied

BYD Seal vs Tesla Model 3 pricing and features


The 2024 BYD Seal and Tesla Model 3 are each available with a choice of three model grades, the Tesla charging more for the privilege.

For this comparison, we’ve chosen the mid-grade Seal Premium and the entry-level Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive.

Priced at $62,145 drive-away in Victoria for the Seal and $60,127 for the Model 3, there's a fair price comparison due to Tesla's recent price cuts.

If your budget is tight, you can save some money by getting into the BYD Seal Dynamic, which is priced $52,865 drive-away.

With both BYD and Tesla, you can spend more on more powerful variants.


Sticking with the BYD Seal Premium and Tesla Model 3 RWD, both electric cars come well equipped with power adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, panoramic sunroof, dual wireless phone chargers and the ability to use your phone as the key.

The BYD Seal Premium steps up with 19-inch wheels (versus 18s on the Tesla Model 3), real leather trim (it’s leather-look in the Tesla Model 3), head-up display and a separate instrument cluster in front of the driver (the Tesla Model 3 incorporates the speedometer and other info on the right-hand edge of the screen).

The BYD Seal also incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Automotive connectivity, allowing third-party apps to be accessed through the main screen.

Tesla instead incorporates its own apps and some excellent in-house connectivity providing phone functions directly on the Model 3's main screen. Plus, while both electric cars have regular software updates, Tesla’s to date have been more interesting in adding new features and functionality - early in 2024 Tesla activated matrix LED lights, for example.

The Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive also gets a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats and a superior sound system.

The Tesla Model 3 also incorporates some fun and unique features, including arcade games, dog mode (for informing passers-by that your pooch is cool inside a parked car) and onboard karaoke.

Plus, there’s also a rear 8-inch screen in the Tesla Model 3 that can access most of the main features or stream videos from services such as Netflix and YouTube.

While the best charging solution for each is a dedicated EV home charger, the Seal also comes with a portable charger that plugs into a standard powerpoint.

More: How much solar you need to charge an electric car


In terms of warranty coverage, it’s a win to the BYD Seal, albeit with caveats.

The Tesla Model 3’s four-year, 80,000km warranty protection is sub-standard, especially when compared with the BYD’s six years and 150,000km of coverage.

However, BYD has some off exclusions; the suspension is only covered for four years and 100,000km, for example, and the multimedia screen, wheel bearings and charge port assembly only get three years and 60,000km of coverage.


Tesla Model Y frunk

The absence of an engine under the Tesla Model 3 RWD's hood leaves room for a 'frunk' (front trunk).

BYD Seal vs Tesla Model 3 safety equipment

The BYD Seal received a five-star ANCAP safety rating when tested to the 2023 protocols.

Tesla claims to have made safety improvements to the 2024 Model 3, the previous version of which scored a five-star ANCAP rating in 2019. However, that new model has not yet been tested by ANCAP, so remains unrated.

Both the BYD Seal and Tesla Model 3 come with dual front, side and front chest airbags, while the Seal adds to it with a centre airbag between the front occupants.

Each electric car also gets a suite of active safety systems, including auto braking, lane keep assist, speed sign recognition and blind spot warning. Neither is perfect in their operation - occasionally giving false warnings - but the Tesla Model 3 is much better.

The BYD Seal can be aggressive in the way it self-steers and gives crash alerts when they’re not warranted, meaning you’re constantly having to be on alert and ready to counter steer if the car gets too excited.

The BYD Seal also gets front and rear cross traffic alert with auto braking.

As well as improvements to side impact protection with this updated model, the Tesla Model 3 now also comes with an active bonnet that can pop up to protect the head of a pedestrian. And Tesla says in future it will upgrade the software to allow the internal camera to act as a child detection system.

BYD Seal vs Tesla Model 3 interiors and design

Both the BYD Seal and Tesla Model 3 are based on a dedicated electric car architecture, which allows designers to ideally position key electrical components to maximise cabin space.

As such, each EV does a terrific job of catering for adults in the front and rear. The flat floor in the back seat area is a bonus for foot room and squeezing three across the cabin.

Look for somewhere to hide some odds and ends, though, and the Tesla Model 3 comes up trumps. Binnacles and the deep covered centre area is a win, although accessing the glovebox means delving into the screen.

The Tesla Model 3 also wins on boot space. There’s 594 litres out back, inclusive of a deep area beneath the main boot floor. The additional 88 litres up front is handy for charging cables. The BYD Seal makes do with a still-handy 400-litre boot and 53-litre ‘frunk’.

Elsewhere, there are big differences between the two. In short, the BYD Seal is more traditional luxury, while the Tesla Model 3 is edgier and more stark.

That extends to the controls, too. The Tesla Model 3 pushes the boundaries by doing without buttons and instead incorporating most controls in that central screen. That includes the virtual slider to select Drive or Reverse. The BYD Seal also packs plenty into its touchscreen, but also has more buttons for basic features such as adjusting the mirrors and drive modes.

The BYD Seal also gets steering wheel stalks, whereas the Tesla Model 3 does without, instead incorporating indicator buttons on the steering wheel. Overall, it’s an inferior way of telling people which direction you intend to go, especially if you’re searching for the buttons mid-way through a corner of roundabout.

The BYD Seal's interior is more traditional luxury than the Tesla Model 3.
The Tesla Model 3's interior is edgier and more stark, with more digital controls than the BYD Seal.

BYD Seal vs Tesla Model 3 battery power, charging and efficiency

Tesla doesn’t quote battery capacities for the 2024 Model 3, but after a charge session or two you can calculate that it has about 60kWh to play with. That’s not huge, but works with the excellent efficiency to provide a claimed 513km of WLTP range.

The BYD Seal, on the other hand, gets a claimed 82.56kWh of battery capacity, for 570km of WLTP range (ignore the higher NEDC range figure because it’s not as representative of real-world expectations).

The Tesla Model 3 charges at up to 170kW on a DC charger, which the company says can take on 282km of range (55 per cent of the battery capacity) in as little as 15 minutes.

The BYD Seal can accept 150kW of DC charge for a 30 to 80 per cent charge (285km of range) in 26 minutes.

On slower AC charging - such as what you may use at home - the Tesla can accept up to 11kW versus the BYD’s 7kW.

While it’s a win on paper to the Tesla Model 3 - and a bonus if you’re using one of the thousands of Tesla destination chargers dotted around the country that can supply that much electricity - it’s less of an issue charging at home.

That’s because most houses will run with a standard 7.4kW home charger that requires a single-phase connection (anything higher needs three-phase). At that level, the Tesla would take about 9.5 hours for a full charge and the BYD more like 12.5 hours.

The BYD Seal also has a V2L (vehicle to load) system. Plug the included powerboard into the charge port and you can have 230V outlets to power any regular household appliances. It’s a handy feature that's unique to some electric cars (and potentially more than that if there’s a blackout at home.)

BYD Seal vs Tesla Model 3 performance and handling

It’s easy to see the appeal of the BYD Seal and Tesla Model 3, especially when it comes to performance. Even in their basic guises, these electric cars deliver the sort of thrust that a decade ago would have been reserved for performance models.

Both the BYD and Tesla drive the rear wheels with a single electric motor.

Tesla doesn’t quote power outputs, instead relying on acceleration times (although in the online owner’s manual the company suggests the RWD makes 194kW and 340Nm). Claimed to hit 100km/h in 6.1 seconds, the Model 3 is brisk in the way it zips around town.

The BYD Seal is claimed to make 230kW and 360Nm and dash to 100km/h in 5.9 seconds.

While we haven’t independent verified either claim, it’s difficult to imagine anyone being disappointed with what’s on offer with these EVs.

One of the biggest differences between the BYD and Tesla is what happens when you lift off the throttle. The Tesla Model 3 has quite aggressive regenerative braking, so when you lift off the throttle it’s like you’ve pressed the brake pedal. The BYD Seal’s is a lot calmer and also adjustable, so you can dial it back if you want something more akin to driving a petrol car.

Through corners, each is also sharp, although the Tesla Model 3 has more polish.

The late 2023 update to the Model 3 brought a heavy revision to the suspension that maintained much of the Tesla’s sharp steering and sporty demeanour but tamed its formerly firm ride. New frequency selective dampers better soothe the way the Model 3 deals with bumps and make things a lot more comfortable. Improvements to aerodynamics and insulation also make the Model 3's cabin quieter.

The BYD Seal is similar in its ability to pamper. However, its suspension doesn’t have the refinement of the Tesla’s.

The BYD Seal has a V2L system that can power regular household appliances.
The 2024 Tesla Model 3 now features refined driving dynamics.

BYD Seal vs Tesla Model 3: which should I buy?

Both the 2024 BYD Seal and the Tesla Model 3 mount a convincing case for those chasing a prestige sedan. And we’re not just talking EVs, but anything hovering around the $60K price range.

The BYD Seal surges ahead on cabin ambience and value - in the process outdoing petrol alternatives on bang-for-buck - while also stretching the distance between charges that little bit further than the Tesla Model 3.

But the Tesla Model 3’s superior tech, driving manners and user friendliness combine with better efficiency to edge it over the line in what is a close-fought battle between two of the top-selling cars in this segment. Throw in the Tesla’s bespoke charging network and the Model 3 makes for a compelling all-electric mid-size sedan.

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.