Will BYD’s Electric Car Be A Hit? $TSLA $AONE
China’s first long range, electric car became available for retail sales in Shenzhen yesterday, - BYD Company’s ”BYD e6″ electric car. It’s a five-passenger, cross-over vehicle.
Purchasers can get a very generous rebate, equivalent to about $18,000, cutting the starting price of $56,900 to $38,430.
Until now, it’s been sold for fleets. BYD (HKG:1211) says the car has been used in government and taxi fleets for nearly 18 months. Shenzhen taxis have logged over 3.8 million fleet miles with many reaching 100,000 miles each.
BYD says the car has a range of over 190 miles because of its iron-phosphate battery. It launched in Shenzhen because of its extensive EV charging stations.
The car includes the BYD-i system, which allows many vehicle functions to be performed remotely by smartphone and uses cloud-data for high-tech driving assistance.
In late 2008, BYD launched the F3DM plug-in vehicle, but only 1000 cars have been sold. In September 2010, BYD launched a 40 foot electric eBUS in Changsha and Shenzhen.
Will People Buy These Cars?
Unfortunately, Chinese drivers are showing more interest in SUVs than in clean transporation alternatives.
What used to known as the land of bikes and scooters has morphed into the world’s biggest market for cars – and like US drivers, they like them big.
13.8 million vehicles were sold in China last year, which now tops the US as the world’s biggest car market. Despite extravagant subsidies to get people to buy hybrids and electric cars, SUV sales are surging. So are sales of luxury cars like Mercedes, BMW and Rolls-Royce.
The Guardian reports that BYD has had to scale back plans after failing to find a market because of costs, safety concerns and underdeveloped battery technology. Prime minister Wen Jiabao recently published an article in a Communist party journal calling for a rethink of China’s “road map” towards alternative powertrain vehicles.
Indeed, even the Prius doesn’t seem to interest Chinese car buyers – just 200 sold in 2009 and none since.
At this point, the government’s goal of selling 1 million ”new energy” vehicles by 2015 is nowhere in sight. The government offers rebates of $9,400 for electric vehicles and $7,800 for plug-in hybrids in five pilot cities, but conventional cars are still cheaper and perceived as more reliable.
Rather than jump directly to electric cars, the government may revise its plan to focus on fuel-efficient conventional cars and hybrids for the near future.
Still, GreenTech Automotive, based in Mississippi, plans to build a Chinese plant which can make 300,000 hybrid and electric MyCars a year.
Read the full article.
Here’s the e6 electric car:
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