We've read about many Chinese manufacturers cutting back, laying off, feeling the pinch of reduced consumption in the U.S. Bucking the general trend: BYD. They are a Chinese car maker and plan to introduce their plug-in electric car in the U.S. in 2011. Of course, one of Warren Buffett's companies owns 10% of BYD.
BYD's already selling the F3DM, the world's first mass-produced plug-in hybrid sedan, in China. They also make a battery-powered e6, a mid-size five-passenger vehicle with a range of up to 250 miles on a single charge. When BYD gets its cars into the U.S. threy are expected to meet competition from Nissan, also possibly Chrysler and GM if they survive. All three promise to bring some electric cars into the U.S. market next year.
The F3DM's on sale now in China have small gas engine used to recharge the battery, which can also be recharged at a standard home power socket. Unlike the usual spiel on electric cars, BYD maintains they are far easier and CHEAPER to build than standard gasoline cars. Far fewer parts to deal with, easier to engineer. Who'da thunk it?
BYD's car may sell for about $22K while the Chevy Volt is expected to hit the market next year at about $40K. At the start BYD's cars will be imported, though the company has indicated it would like to have enough sales to justify American-based assembly plants.
Here's YouTube video of a BYD vehicle at a Chinese auto show. You can see more pictures of the BYD cars here.