BYD Auto Will Launch its First EV in the U.S. Next Year
China's BYD Auto has stepped up the U.S. introduction date for its new e6 electric-powered vehicle and now plans to start selling this five-door/five-passenger crossover hatch in 2010 instead of 2011. Set to start production for the home market late this year, the new e6 is powered by a pair of electric motors that make a combined 268 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. BYD, which stands for "Build Your Dreams," says the e6 can sprint from 0-60 mph in less than 8.0 seconds, has a top speed of 100 mph, and can travel nearly 250 miles on a single charge of its Lithium-ion (Li-ion) iron phosphate batteries. According to BYD, which was one of the world largest and most successful battery producers long before it got into the car business in 2003, the "Super-Iron" ferrous technology (Fe) at the heart of the e6's cell chemistry has numerous advantages over a conventional Li-ion counterpart. Most notable are that it costs less to make, provides for far greater recyclability and is capable of undergoing a 50-percent quick charge in just 10 minutes on 220-volt line -- or being completely recharged overnight using a standard 110-volt wall outlet.
Last year, American investment legend Warren Buffett paid $230 million for a 10-percent holding in BYD, a move that has already seriously enriched the coffers of MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a subsidiary of his larger Berkshire Hathaway operations. Although Buffet is hoping to increase that stake, BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu has yet to agree to any new overtures. At a press conference, he did announce that BYD had doubled its profitability in the first half of 2009 and expects to exceed its sales target of 400,000 units this year even without the addition of the e6 to its current vehicle lineup.