BYD a Chinese car developer announced via the Wall Street Journal that they are now getting ready for a US launch in 2010. The flagship product of BYD is a full all electric sedan which was first shown early this year at the North American International Auto Show (Detroit Auto Show).
I don’t know if anyone remembers but the keynote presentation delivered by BYD’s CEO Wang Chuanfu during the Detroit Auto Show caused quiet reaction in the mainstream media.
BYD claimed that their E6 full electric crossover vehicles are capable to run for 250 miles on a single charge. And also I think they said at the time, a 10 minute charge can refill the battery up to 60% full.
It is really ironic that at the time, most of the media gave it no chance at all. They all seemed to think it is impossible or it will never be in production.
However a couple of month later (April), Warren Buffet invests 230 million in 10% of the company. I guess not everyone was a hater.
Now just 2 days ago, BYD’s CEO Wang Chuanfu told the Wall Street Journal that they are planning on rolling out the electric sedan E6 to the American market next year; which is ahead of the original plan. The CEO is quoted saying that their first goal is to build the BYD brand in the US, and the car will be priced initially at $40,000 same as the Chevy Volt.
Although not many consumers know the brand BYD yet, they are actually the leading developers of mass market electric vehicles. In comparison to the prototypes from GM and Nissan (Volt and the new announced Leaf), the BYD E6 Sedan seem to have much superior specifications, and also an earlier launch date. The Chevy Volt only can go for 40 miles on battery and the Nissan Leaf only have a 99 miles range. Furthermore, BYD has a very strong brand and market share in China. Back in October 08, BYD’s F3 Sedan was the best selling sedan in China. They also sell a variety of hybrid vehicles as well.
So Have GM and Nissan already lost the electric car race? It is still too early to tell, but at this rate it is not that far of a stretch.