BYD F3DM / F6DM / E6 - Auto Shows

>> Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Having just entered the automotive sector in 2003, it's a bit hard to take BYD seriously, especially considering the fact that almost every model on its stand is a near-copy of a last-gen (or older) Japanese car. But while the styling, build quality, and polish of BYD's cars is frankly lackluster, the company deserves credit for working on a number of advanced powertrain solutions, as well as putting to market the world's first production plug-in hybrid, the F6DM. Plus billionaire investor Warren Buffett has sunk money into the company, providing precious credibility and capital.

BYD is one of the largest suppliers of rechargeable batteries, so hybrids and electric vehicles make a lot of sense for the company. BYD has concentrated its efforts in this area and claims to have an 11,000-person science and technology research center, which sounds plausible considering the rapid pace at which the company has moved from automotive neophyte to plug-in hybrid production and sale. That said, even if BYD's claims about the Chinese-market cars below are true, it would take years for any of them to be developed to the point where they would meet U.S. crash and emissions standards, as well as quality expectations.

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