China's BYD Automobile to make hybrid next year

The Chinese car maker, BYD Automobile Co Ltd, plans to mass produce a hybrid gas-electric car the second half of next year. BYD showed a full electric car, the F3e, a car based on its F3 sedans, at last year's Beijing auto show. I assume BYD's planned hybrid is based on the F3 sedan as well. The battery for BYD's hybrid and electric car are iron based, which BYD says is better than lithium-ion batteries.

"The iron battery proves to have better safety performance and larger capacity. The cost could also be lowered by using abundant resources and affordable raw materials," says BYD in an e-mail. BYD's first car, the F3 sedan, started production in 2005 and sold 51,000 units in 2005. In 2006, BYD sold 60,000 F3s and they expect to sell 100,000 this year.

The Chinese government is really encouraging its carmakers to develop clean cars. Do you think China could take the lead from American and European car makers on hybrids? What about the Japanese?

[Source: Shanghai Daily]

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