Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chinese BYD Plug-in Hybrids

Chinese automaker BYD (Build Your Dreams) is producing the types of vehicles we need so desperately to become oil free. The current lineup offerings are models like F0, F3, F6 and F8. Theses are the vehicles we are familiar with that run on gasoline with normally aspirated internal combustion engines. The fun models are designated F3E, F3DM and F6DM.

F3E is a smaller Toyota Corolla-like vehicle that is all electric. This is the best option, in my opinion. It will not use one drop of gasoline and will be able to sport a range of 180 miles. How many people out there drive less than 180 miles per day? I would have to say the numbers are in the 90th percentile.

The F3DM and the F6DM use the same technology but in different chassis'. The F3DM is the same as the F3 in that it is a Corolla look-alike and the F6 is a bit beefier mimicking the Toyota Camry. Obviously, these are very popular car models to emulate. The "DM" moniker designates dual mode and I believe this is the killer app for all automobiles going forward. One of the modes is all electric and the other mode is a hybrid where a smaller internal combustion engine fires up and keeps the wheels turning and batteries charged. The batteries are recharged completely with an extension cord using your home's electricity.

Both dual mode vehicles should have mass appeal as they allow drivers to overcome their "range anxiety". No matter where you drive, there is bound to be a gas station nearby. The DM vehicles sport a range of 60 miles in EV mode and another 200 or so in hybrid mode. The F6DM is supposed to be offered for sale within a month in China. Unfortunately for me, it will not be for sale in the US until 2010. Bummer.

The best part of all? The MSRP for this vehicle is going to be about $25,000. I think I would buy two! BYD's parent company is one of the largest manufacturer's of lithium ion batteries, which may explain the great price.

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