The first mass-produced plug-in hybrid from a Chinese company, the F3DM from BYD, goes on sale today. You can get it in China for the equivalent of $20,000 today, or wait until 2011 and buy one here in the US. The F3DM (the DM stands for "dual mode") uses a ferrous battery and can go 60 miles in electric-only mode. BYD expects to sell 10,000 units next year.

That all sounds very good, but BYD is new to building cars - the company's first model, the F3, went on sale in 2003 - and faces a lot of hurdles for public acceptance, at least outside of China. BYD (Build Your Dreams) does make more rechargeable batteries for things like cell phones and laptops than anyone else and investor Warren Buffett spent $230 million for an almost 10 percent stake in BYD a few months ago. These are signs that the company's goal to be the world's largest automaker has at least a little something to stand on, but Honda, for one, remains unimpressed. We'll be sure to keep an eye out for BYD's main floor presence at the Detroit Auto Show in a few weeks. Until then, check out pictures from previous BYD booths in the galleries below.

[Source: LA Times via EVWorld]

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