2009 BYD F3DM – Click above for high-res image gallery

Admittedly, China's BYD did not have great sales success with its F3DM plug-in hybrid (PHEV) in the first year or so that it was available, selling just over 100 units. But, until now, the PHEV has been limited to fleet purchasers only. Starting next week, private citizens in Shenzhen, China (where the car is made) will get a chance to buy one of these vehicles. It'll be interesting to see if BYD has better luck convincing the general public to choose the PHEV version for 149,800 Yuan (about $22,000 U.S, at today's exchange rates) instead of the standard gasoline model for about half that. The F3DM has an official range of 60 miles on electric-only power.

If the car was U.S.-spec and sold for $22,000 here, it would be an instant success, but it's not and the car's prospects in its home market are uncertain (to say nothing of BYD's U.S. plans). Thus, the Shenzhen government is considering subsidies for private citizens to purchase the car, all part of a stated goal to have 24,000 "energy-saving and new energy vehicles" on the city's roads in 2012 (and 100,00 in 2015). Stay tuned.




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