• Aug 23, 2009
BYD e6 electric MPV - Click above for high-res image gallery

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Warren Buffet-backed Chinese automaker BYD has moved up its schedule and plans to sell a fully electric car here in the United States next year. Interestingly, the automaker's original plans were to sell its first products here in the U.S. in 2010, but it then delayed that projection by a year. The new announcement puts BYD back on track for its original 2010 target -- perhaps not coincidentally in line with the launch of the new Nissan Leaf.

BYD's e6 five-seatcrossover is the first vehicle exected to hit the U.S. market, with a price of just over $40,000. Details on the car's launch are still slim at this point, but WSJ indicates it will be a limited to a few hundred vehicles in select markets. Expect the initial vehicles to go to "government agencies, utilities and maybe some celebrities," according to BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu.

Last we heard, the all-electric e6 was capable of accelerating to 100 km/h (62 mph) in ten seconds with a maximum speed of 160 km/h (99 mph). Perhaps more importantly, the car's range has been quoted at 300km (186 miles) on a full charge of its lithium ion battery pack.



[Source: The Wall Street Journal]


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  • 48 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      A few hundred cars to fleets and celebs in select markets. This is the BMW MINI E or EV1 again.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well like they said it was originally pushed back probably to ready themselves for large scale production. But I suspect Nissan's announcement forced them to release at least a few hundred cars so they can fight for being one of the first cheap EVs to hit the US, even if it's a technicality.
        Either way I actually am looking forward to seeing how these are. Hopefully they won't be crapboxes that ruin the reputation of Chinese cars for decades to come Excel style.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No. This is a first-year test fleet, and practically every other automaker with an EV program is doing test fleets of under 500 for the first year, followed by a full commercial lease the next year.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "A few hundred cars to fleets and celebs in select markets."

        Sorry, no celeb is gonna touch a Chinese car, EV or not, with a ten foot pole.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes. They are announcing their test fleet as if it were available for sale. Hype. Advertising. R&D. Not products.

        It says nothing about full commercial lease the next year. We'll just have to wait for that info.
      • 5 Years Ago
      " Expect the initial vehicles to go to "government agencies, utilities and maybe some celebrities,"

      Oh. So like Honda and everyone else we will see these in pilot programs for a few years then never again? Neat. Same ol' same ol'.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It reminds me of a Fiat Stilo.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You can't compare the battery costs with the Volt until you find out BYD's warranty. That's the big boogey-man. GM is publicizing a 10 year warranty on the full performance of the battery (i.e. all 40 mile electric range). That's really impressive for LI-ion batteries. They are doing it by using a limited window of the battery charge (50% of the battery) and a battery management system.

      Based on typical laptop battery performance, don't expect BYD, Tesla, etc, to have more than a 3-5 year warranty. For example, the Tesla roadster has a 3 year warranty, with an option to extend it to 4 years.

      • 5 Years Ago
      This actually looks really nice, simple and modern. I like the interior too.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Paint the C-Pillar please.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I still highly skeptical: they're claiming close to 5 times the range of the Volt in a larger vehicle. The Volt's battery is reportedly a $10K item. Which would suggest that the BVD's battery would be a $50K item, given it needs to be at least 5 times the size of the Volt's battery.

      And they're going to charge $40K for the whole car? This isn't adding up, unless for some reason GM is getting completely ripped off on the cost of its batteries. Which I tend to doubt . . . .
        • 5 Years Ago
        $20,000 loss per vehicle x 200 = $4 million for $50+ million worth of advertising via news & blog sites.

        Not too shabby.

        As for the Volt not using all of its battery, that's more or less what all vehicle batteries are going to do to some degree in order to optimize life and efficiency.

        Leave it to GM to slip a technical detail that's common in the industry but the general public doesn't know it and then they ignore it when that detail is being misinterpreted.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Look in to BYD, good sir.

        You'll be surprised. BYD is the state of the art for batteries.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Not to mention that the batteries would be much cheaper to make with Chinese labor (rather than using Korean and American labor like GM is) and the fact that China has the 3rd largest known lithium reserves in the world behind Chile and Bolivia.
        • 5 Years Ago
        jpm100:
        True EVs seem to use almost all their batteries. They need the capacity to increase their range. Hybrids use less of the battery because they can get away with it and with their undersize battery, they also need a larger battery to increase power density to make the battery last longer.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They may use more of the potential capability, but its unlikely they are dramatically different.

        All the graphics and terminology about charge are referring to the usable charge. Not the unusable portion that will cause premature battery death.

        I'm not sure about Li-Ion, but I know other multi-cell batteries get wrecked like this. The battery may have 30% charge left, but one of the many cells due to manufacturing variation, temperature variation, etc. is close to depleted. If you keep going and that cell depletes but the other cells force current through it. That chemically changes it permanently. It actually stops holding a charge and starts becoming a resistor. The battery depletes faster and the next cell with the lowest charge eventually ends up the same way. and so on and so on ...

        That one cell, depending how the cells are grouped, can lead to other cells in series with it to start depleting ahead of the battery as a whole. So that one cell can quickly drag down a branch of cells.
        • 5 Years Ago
        First, the Volt only uses half of its battery. So the projected price for this is more like 2.5x, not 5x.
        Second, BYD makes their own batteries, so they probably are just taking a loss on the battery.

        Honestly, they're likely taking a loss on the whole car. You can do that when you write down the vehicle as advertising ("a few celebs") or R&D (going into fleets).

        As I said in the ABG article, I pity any company trying to make money on EVs, with so many companies using them as loss leader promotional items it puts incorrect ideas of what the cars should cost into the minds of the consumer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I hope this Chinese company doesn't come over to the U.S.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd like to see the crash test videos. Then we'll talk..Also, looks like a previous gen Fiat Stilo. Not bad, just dated.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wait and watch.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'll believe it when I see it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't doubt they have built a car with that range (under ideal conditions) but I do doubt that unless Buffet greased the right palms to get it exempt., it'll never pass safety regulations in America. They'll have to remove a wheel so it can be classed in the anything-goes tricycle loophole.
        • 5 Years Ago
        A fair comment though as suprising as it is we may just actually see it. BYD has some vehicles that are actually semi credible after only building cars for a short period of time and their expertise is in making batteries not cars so an EV is the perfect fit for them. Of all the Chinese Automakers BYD seems to me like the one to watch.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Do us all a favor and stop linking to Autoblog Green galleries. It makes the "back to post" button pretty much useless.

      Oh and pretty nice for a chinese mpv.
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