BYD Auto coming out with hybrid-electric PHEV car this fall

Chinese car company BYD Auto announced that they’re on schedule to start selling their F3DM plug-in hybrid-electric car in China by the end of this November. While there doesn’t appear to be many details out about the F3DM, the price will probably be around $22k (or 150,000 yuan). The car is expected to have an all electric range of about 68 miles – it will also have a small gas engine that will recharge the batteries while driving, a design similar to the Chevy Volt.

BYD F3DM

One very notable headline about this company is that on Sept 30th, MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a unit of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway invested $230 million in BYD Co., which is the parent company of BYD Auto. BYD has said that the $230 million will help speed up its plans to enter the US and European markets. They are now talking about a larger version of the F3DM, the F6DM, to possibly be ready to sell in the US by 2010.

The F3DM is using a BYD Co. developed iron-phosphate-based lithium-ion battery which they claim is more stable (and therefore safer) than the lithium-ion batteries in development by other car companies. The downside of this safer battery is that it doesn’t store quite as much energy in each cell, which limits the F3DM’s electric range a bit compared to the Chevy Volt specs.

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