BYD Auto launches plug-in Hybrid in China

Looks like an old Toyota Corolla, but the BYD F3DM is a fully functional, made-in-China plug-in hybrid. The Japanese, Koreans and Americans don’t have anything like it yet!

The Chinese seem to be steaming ahead with development on hybrids, beating American, Japanese and Korean carmakers to the punch. For example, while Chevrolet is still at least two years away from launching the Volt, Chinese carmaker, BYD Auto, has already launched China’s first plug-in hybrid – the F3DM sedan. The vehicle, which was recently launched in China, will be showcased at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2009.

While the Chevy Volt is expected to cost around US$40,000 when it goes on sale in 2011, the F3DM will be priced at the equivalent of around US$21,900 in China. The vehicle is a ‘dual mode’ hybrid, which can run on petrol, electricity, or a combination of both. According to BYD Auto, the F3DM can travel up to 100km on battery power alone, and here’s the best part – an 80% battery charge takes a mere 15 minutes!

Till a few years ago, everyone was laughing at Chinese cars and the Chinese automotive industry was the butt of jokes everywhere. Guess who’s laughing now…

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