Chinese Firm Unveils Radical Hybrid

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
chinese firm unveils radical hybrid

Chinese firm BYD (better known as an industry leader in NiCad and Lithium Ion batteries) unveiled its second plug-in hybrid at the Geneva Auto Show. Green Car Congress says its unique three-mode hybrid drivetrain starts in full-electric mode, switches to range-extending serial hybrid mode, and finally to Prius-style parallel hybrid setting (with gas and electric motor operating together). Scheduled for 2010 (isn't everything?), the new F3DM is aimed at the European market. BYD is not shy about its chances for success in the hybrid and electric car markets. "Battery technology is our core competency," Chairman Wang Chaunfu boasts. "And we think we are well-placed against GM and Toyota." No surprise then, that the company's 20kWh lithium-iron phosphate battery pack can go 70 miles on a single (long-ish) nine-hour 220 VAC charge… with a gas engine ready to kick in to extend range or increase power at any time. With a BYD test-fleet of taxis preparing to take to the streets of Shenzhen, the first automaker to sell an out-of-the-box, plug-in hybrid could well be Chinese.

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  • Johnson Johnson on Mar 08, 2008
    BYD is not shy about its chances for success in the hybrid and electric car markets. If the car will actually be sold like that, looking like an almost exact copy of the Corolla, it will flop no matter how good the drivetrain is. I would also expect lawsuits to pop up in certain European countries. Right now worldwide, there is a big aversion to "Made In China" products after several big health and safety scares from Chinese-made products. Some European countries even go as far as banning certain Chinese products.

  • Jthorner Jthorner on Mar 08, 2008

    The Datsun 1500 looked an awful lot like an MGB, but that didn't stop 'em from being sold. A Chevy HHR looks a lot like a PT Cruiser and was designed by the same person ... the marketplace said so what? A Ford Five Hundred looks like a prior generation Passat after too many corticosteroids and VW didn't sue. Again, same designer of both the Five Hundred and the Passat. BYD may or may not make it with their car, but looking a bit like a Corolla isn't going to be a problem.

  • Supremebrougham Supremebrougham on Mar 08, 2008

    I saw these cars at NAIAS, and they not only look like the last Corolla, I seriously think the doors and some of the other panels, as well as the entire interior, could fit onto a real Corolla!!! I mean, they were that close!!! They also had a car that from the side profile was a dead ringer for the last Accord, with a very similar interior design. Why Toyota and Honda haven't sued yet is beyond me... BYD..."Build Your Dreams" Apparently their dream is to build someone else's reality.

  • Johnson Johnson on Mar 08, 2008
    BYD may or may not make it with their car, but looking a bit like a Corolla isn’t going to be a problem A bit? This BYD looks *almost EXACTLY* like a 9th gen Corolla, except for some very tiny differences. As mentioned, many panels ARE exactly the same as a Corolla. Lawsuits will be waiting to happen outside of China. Inside Chinese courts, both Toyota and Honda have tried (and failed) to sue Chinese companies that have blatantly copied their designs. Outside Chinese courts will be another matter however.