By on February 19, 2011

Yesterday night, I skyped with Ash Sutcliffe of Chinacartimes, and he kvetched that TTAC doesn’t give him enough “link love”. I pride myself in the knowledge of esoteric ways of showing affection, but link love? Would it have something to do with chains? Finally, it dawned on me that I make link love to Ash by topping his URL with TTAC’s high traffic words. And there is no better moment than this. Ash found the first real review of a real BYD plug in hybrid, performed by a real, card-carrying member of the press. My link love goes out to you for this, Ash!

The New York Times could no longer live with the shame of having been scooped by a Los Angeles Public Housing Inspector who made a review of a BYD F3DM one of his projects. The Grey Lady dispatched their very own Brad Berman up into the hills of Glendale, that beauteous suburb of LA, where Berman picked up his test ride at no frills Cars 911, “a used car dealership in this Los Angeles suburb where BYD Autos has set up temporary North American operations.”

The NYT notices “the wobbly storage compartment between the front seats, subpar floor mats, squishy handling,” and decides that “the build quality and materials seem perfectly adequate for utility-oriented Americans.” You wait until EVO gets its hands on that thing.

Forget the build quality. The NYT thinks that this could be the Volt for the people of Wal-Mart:

“To focus on the F3DM’s inconspicuous sheet metal and boring driving experience is to miss the audacity of BYD’s strategy. Think of the F3DM as a Chevrolet Volt with a Wal-Mart price tag, a car with a large-capacity battery — that delivered 31 miles of uninterrupted pure-electric driving for me — as well as a gasoline engine that gives it the ability to go an additional 300 miles.”

“General Motors, however, loaded up the Volt with a powerful electric motor, an iPod-like console and a luxury feel that help to justify a $41,000 price tag (before state and federal tax incentives). The F3DM — which does have an auxiliary audio input jack and a parking sensor — is expected to sell for less than $29,000. Incentives could drop the price closer to $20,000.“

Price and volume a closely related. If the NYT is right, then Obama’s blue sky goal of getting a million EVs on the road by 2015 may be attainable. By China.

Read the whole review here, it’s worth it. Equal link love for New York and China Car Times.

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4 Comments on “The Grey Lady Tests A BYD. CCT Gets Link Love...”

  • avatar

    A $29,000 Toyota Corolla-lookalike compact with wobbly center console, sub-par carpeting and squishy handling. Sounds great! I’m sure it’ll sell like hotcakes!

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      How dare you bring up the 1999-2003 Chevy Malibu and 1997-1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass! 

      (I know the price point isn’t right, I’m just being a smarta$$.) 

  • avatar

    Quote from the article:

    It was once thought impossible that Japanese and Korean cars would ride alongside Fords, Chevys and Dodges on American roadways. After my day with the impressive, though imperfect, F3DM, I see that Chinese cars—electric and affordable — are not only possible, but imminent.

    Exactly right.  If the ownership experience is inexpensive and reliable, it will be a hit, even for an unrefined car.  Think Hyundai 1990. The problem is the price of entry. A Hyundai Elantra at 29 mpg will cost $2500 more to operate over 5 years, so you might break even on the BYD’s subsidized price in comparison. But there will be no comparison in quality or joy for those 5 years.

    But this is how a new entry gets a foothold in the market. Dealer experience will be the key – Americans have had their fill of bad ones (from every carmaker). If BYD can distinguish themselves in this area, the vehicle’s imperfections might be overlooked.

  • avatar

    If they are right, then it would make more sense to bring over the non battery versions of BYD cars and sell them here.  The walmart crowd would be all over 15k loaded BYD cars.

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