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Back in December of 2010, BYD Motors and the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) inked a deal to try out the automaker's dual-mode F3DM plug-in hybrid, testing the vehicle in advance of its scheduled 2012 U.S. launch. The test is designed to get a feel for how the vehicle does in the U.S., because BYD aims to sell "tens of thousands" of F3DMs here in the States by the end of 2012. It could do so if it manages to offer the plug-in hybrid sedan at its target base price of $28,800.

With Toyota dominating the hybrid market, some other automakers are trying to play catch-up (not Ford, of course). But there are different types of hybrid engines, and the dual-mode hybrid system in development by GM and DaimlerChrysler and BMW has won praise from some analysts, but HybridCars.com got dissenting views from two others. UC Davis Professor Andy Frank and Ron Gremban, CalCars Technology Lead both give their opinions on the dual-mode hybrid. In short, they think the system is too cos