2009 BYD F3DM - Click above for high-res image gallery
The BYD F3DM plug-in hybrid went on sale in China back in December of 2008. In its first twelve months on the market, slightly more than 100 units were sold, well below the company's stated goal of 10,000 sales in in the first year. That distinct lack of success convinced BYD to lower its sales estimates and to rethink some of its other plug-in vehicle plans.
According to a report by Gasgoo, during the months leading up to and following the launch of the F3DM, BYD conducted a market analysis and determined that China's infrastructure for plug-in vehicles was lacking. It was through this research that the automaker supposedly decided to focus on transitional vehicles (i.e. advanced hybrids) and drop its plans to develop the F3e electric sedan, which first debuted at the Beijing Motor Show back in 2006. However, BYD has not publicly made any such announcement regarding its decision to ditch this electric auto, so we're left wondering if this vehicle might still come to fruition at some point in time. Unfortunately, Gasgoo's report suggests otherwise:
BYD's claim that a lack of support is holding back its electric vehicle plans certainly falls in line with what we've been hearing lately. In fact, even Nissan has delayed the introduction of the Leaf in China due to the nation's lacking infrastructure.BYD Co, backed by US billionaire Warren Buffet, also established three charging stations as part of a pilot program in Shenzhen in 2007. Ia Hipping, general manager of BYD Automotive Sales Co Ltd. said then commercial production of the F3E would be achieved in three years and the price would be controlled below 150,000 yuan ($22,562 U.S. at the current exchange rate ). However, the BYD F3DM was somehow launched first in December 2008 and the F3e was abandoned, and the reason is just as Wan said-a problem of ancillary environment. It is infeasible to extensively promote all-electric vehicles before the supporting infrastructure is well improved in the country.