Kelston Motor Group - Dolphin 1

In keeping with the spirit of togetherness it fosters each year, the 2024 Welcoming the Whales Festival in Nelson Mandela Bay will even share the spotlight with a pod of Dolphins – though not of the oceangoing variety.

This year’s celebration of the ocean giants’ arrival in Algoa Bay will include the official launch of the BYD Dolphin – the first fully-electric hatchback vehicle to be made available in the Eastern Cape.

The mid-size hatch, which retails from R539 900, is the second model to be released by Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD (Build Your Dreams) in the province.

It follows the arrival of its Atto 3 sports utility vehicle in December, marking further expansion of the world’s biggest EV maker into the South African market.

The annual Welcoming the Whales Festival, to be held at the Willows Resort and Conference Centre in Gqeberha on June 2, celebrates Humpback whales on their northward migration to Kenya and Gabon while creating awareness about the need to protect marine life.

BYD vehicles are sold through the Kelston Motor Group in the province.

As the naming sponsor of the 3km, 6km and 9km Whale Trail runs that form part of the festival programme, the Group believes there is no better time and place to introduce the Dolphin to the Bay’s motoring public.

The BYD Dolphin, backed by BYD advance blade battery technology and advanced safety features, boasts smart connectivity, voice control and driving assistance for an enhanced electrified driving experience.

Kelston Motor Group - Dolphin 1

BYD sales consultant Justin Zeelie and Kelston Motor Group marketing head Bev Venter admire two Dolphin EVs, the first fully-electric hatchback vehicles to be made available in the Eastern Cape. Photo: Full Stop Communications

The five-seat, front-wheel drive vehicle comes in Dynamic Standard Range and Premium Extended Range. These register around 340km and 427km per charge respectively.

As is the case with the Atto 3, where plastic “dragon scales” are incorporated into part of the external design, the Dolphin also carries its own theme. Interior door handles, for example, are shaped like fins.

Yet that is far from the only standout aesthetic feature of the hatch.

It comes in an array of colours that are anything but ordinary: “Amethyst Purple”, “Coral Pink” and “Surfing Blue and Urban Grey” are just some of the options, but not only on the exterior.

They also brighten the vehicle’s vegan leather seating and interior side panels (for those who may not know, vegan is synthetic leather made from agricultural waste products and other green materials).

Changing the Dolphin’s driving mode from “regular” to “sport” is as exhilarating as watching its ocean equivalent frolicking in the Indian Ocean surf.

Within seconds, motorists will be soaring towards 100kph and beyond with nothing more than a whisper.

Kelston head of marketing Bev Venter explained that BYD wanted the Group to launch the vehicle at an event where families could enjoy themselves.

“And that is exactly what the Welcoming the Whales Festival is about. So, for us, there was perfect synergy in announcing the Dolphin’s arrival on Eastern Cape shores at the event.

“The association between ‘Dolphin’ and ‘marine life’ is obviously great but, more importantly, the whole festival is focused on the environment and BYD’s vision, ‘Cool the Earth by one per cent’ is very in tune with this.”

Kelston will host two activation stands – one at the entrance and the other at the Whale Trail start/finish line.

Festinos will have the opportunity to test-drive the Dolphin while the Group will give away food vouchers for the various stalls set up at Willows.

Well-known Gqeberha DJ Charlie T will also be on site to keep visitors entertained.