BYD misses the mark, hybrid and electric future called into question

BYD E6 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Numerous reports have suggested that China envisions a future in which it leads all nations in the race towards developing and producing hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs). Given the country's sheer size and massive production capabilities, this vision might seem both doable and probable. But, if struggles encountered by China's BYD Auto give us any indication of what we can expect from the nation's automakers as a whole, then the chances of China dominating the battery-powered world seems rather slim.

As outlined by Plugin Cars, BYD has suffered from a series of setbacks as it moves towards mass production of hybrids and EVs:
  • Back in April of 2009, China's electric car plans made headlines. The country announced its goal of selling 500,000 EVs per year by 2011, but has failed to get even remotely close to that mark. Sales now stand at a few thousand per year.
  • BYD made appearances at several major auto shows and claimed that its E6 electric SUV could cover 250 miles on a single charge. The company has failed to display a working prototype that can meet the claimed 250-mile range and may not release a production E6 in the U.S. by year's end, thus failing to deliver on its promise.
  • In March of this year, BYD claimed that it had become the world's first automaker to offer a mass-produced plug-in hybrid to the public. To date, BYD's F3DM plug-in has amassed fewer than 100 sales, most of which went to government fleets.
While BYD has failed to deliver on some of its promises, it's unfair to imply that China will fall short of reaching its hybrid and electric goals. This is simply a reminder that the healthy dose of skepticism that we routinely apply to claims made by automakers can transfer over to the dreams of a nation as well. Hat tip to Greg!

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[Source: Plugin Cars]

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