Tuesday, December 16, 2008

China's BYD Auto group releases the F3DM plug-in Hybrid for sale

This is huge. Really huge. Chinese automaker, BYD Auto has just put the F3DM plug-in hybrid up for sale in 14 cities. The "DM" in F3DM stands for dual mode, meaning the car can operate in pure electric mode or in hybrid mode, with the engine running. Why do I say this is huge? Mainly because this is the first mass produced plug-in hybrid in the world! Also, the Chinese have beaten Toyota and GM to the punch and will scoop them by at least one year, maybe more.

This car puts the other manufacturer's plug-in plans to shame. It boasts a 62 mile all electric range while the Chevy Volt will only get 40 miles and the Toyota Hybrid plug-in will only travel 10 miles! 62 miles will almost certainly meet the overwhelming majority of commuter's daily needs. The icing on the cake comes with its MSRP, which is $22,000 US. The Volt, with only 40 miles range is expected to retail for 40 grand. What a huge difference. One is affordable to the masses and the other is not.

The BYD F3DM is roughly the size and shape of a Toyota Corolla and the dual mode is really three modes:
1. Electric only - for 62 miles
2. Series hybrid - where the gas engine acts as a range extending generator
3. Parallel mode - where the gas engine and electric motor work together to provide propulsion.

This is a great car that will hopefully spur on the competition. I want one of these badly, but living in the United States means I will have to wait until 2010, when they are expected to be released. It is going to be a long year or so.

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