BYD made a big splash a few years back when it became the first Chinese automaker to develop a highway-capable plug-in vehicle. That announcement brought a flurry of publicity and a Warren Buffett investment in the firm, but has yet to translate into real plugin sales success. Now, BYD is making a big splash again, by announcing another first for a Chinese automaker: an in-house, stratified-injection, all-aluminum turbocharged engine with a dual-clutch transmission. The 1.5 liter engine creates 178 lb-ft of torque from 1750-3500 RPMs, according to a BYD release, putting “[power] equivalent to a 2.4 liter gasoline engine” through “an advanced 6-Speed Tiptronic dual-clutch design” transmission. BYD insists that the drivetrain’s technology was developed in-house, but some may point to the firm’s ties to VW as a source of the know-how in China’s first modern engine.
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