Oregonian politicians, including Governor Ted Kulongoski, have met with BYD Auto representatives in a bid to persuade the Chinese automaker to use Portland, Oregon as a home for its North American headquarters, distribution hub, and possibly even a site for vehicle manufacturing. Eventually. For now, BYD wants to sell its hybrid and electric cars in North America and is casting about for a place to set up shop to accomplish that. Portland has the advantage of being on the coast closest to China and also possesses the type of sustainable image that the company finds attractive. The manager of their automotive sales division, Henry Li said, "The top factor is a place that is environmentally friendly, where people have a green mind-set,...That's very important."

According to a Portland Tribune article discussing the meeting, BYD wants to launch their F3DM and F6DM for $25,000 and $30,000 to begin with. These are plug-in serial hybrids like the Chevy Volt but have a 60 mile all-electric range before the motor kicks in to supply the battery with additional energy. The Volt all-electric range is 40 miles. BYD is the world's largest cell phone battery maker and prides itself on its lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) formulation. The company apparently wants to wait until their is more of a high speed battery-charging infrastructure before launching their gas-free versions of these models. They hope to have decided on an American test-market location by the end of this year.





[Source: Portland Tribune]

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