BYD Dolphin Crowned As Japan’s EV Of The Year For 2023

This win by BYD marks the first time a Chinese automaker has won an auto award in Japan. 

While it should already go without saying that the Chinese are well and truly on its way to become a dominant force in the global auto space, there has nevertheless been more proof recently to that end for those who need it by way of BYD’s Dolphin having taking home the Japan’s EV of the Year award for 2023.  

The first time a Chinese automaker has ever won an auto award of any significant kind in the home turf of Toyota and the like, this win by BYD was made even sweeter for it with its Atto 3 crossover clinching the final podium spot in the same award. The South Korean Hyundai Kona EV meanwhile was the runner up in this Japan EV of the Year Grand Prix 2023. 

Delving deeper now as to how the Dolphin clinched this crown, BYD’s second offering in Japan was praised for its advanced driving assistance features and its cost-effectiveness. Interestingly enough too, this all-electric Chinese hatchback also has been praised for its thoughtful localisation tailored to the Japanese market, such as the lowering its height from its typical 1570 mm to 1550 mm for easier parking in Japan’s multi-story parking lots.

Japan’s EV of the year award is hosted by EV industry media outlet EVsmart and energy consultant Enechange, with the candidates receiving votes from journalists and readers. Only battery-electric cars launched in Japan between October 2022 and October 2023 were shortlisted for the award this year, of which there were 18 models to choose from: 

  1. ASF2.0
  2. Audi Q4 e-tron
  3. Audi Q8 e-tron
  4. BMW iX1
  5. BMW i5
  6. BYD Atto 3
  7. BYD Dolphin
  8. Fiat Abarth 500e
  9. Hyundai Kona EV
  10. HW Electro Elemo-L
  11. Lexus RZ450e
  12. Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV
  13. Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV
  14. Mitsubishi Minicab MiEV
  15. Tesla Model 3
  16. Tesla Model S
  17. Tesla Model Y
  18. Volkswagen ID.4

Looking through the candidates, what should stand out is for only two Japanese offerings to make it on the list: Lexus’ RX450e and Mitsubishi’s Minicab MiEV. Though this should not be surprising in the slightest, as the domestic automakers have not exactly been the quickest at this current all-electric transition. 

Having said that, the previous year’s winner for this particular award was Nissan’s Sakura. A kei EV that is incidentally also the best selling all-electric car in Japan in 2023. 


Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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