There is a lot of talk within the Electric Vehicle community about the Chevy Volt, but sometimes the headlines can overpower news of other EVs, like the BYD F3DM.
The BYD F3DM is one such case. Made and sold in China, it’s been called a Volt copycat, but it doesn’t seem to have the same following as its American counterpart.
News has recently come out that the BYD makes its own proprietary LiFePO4 battery and can sell the car for a US equivalent of $22,000. Warren Buffett has invested in the company and the potential exists to eventually sell the car in the US.
With a reported 60 miles of range and a dual hybrid drivetrain capable of operating either in serial or parallel mode after the battery is discharged, it seems as if it would give the Volt a run for it’s money, but that’s just the problem.
Reportedly since launch in December 2008 only 80 F3DMs have been sold, and 20 of those to the Chinese government. Why is this, you ask?
With a pricetag of $21,980 USD, it’s too expensive for most Chinese. The company has a stated goal of bringing this closer to $15,000 when they scale up production, but if no one is buying now, how will they scale up production?
Other road-blocks include a lack of charging stations, government incentives, and a poor auto market. In addition, the 60 mile range that I mentioned above, is only accurate if it is driven under 50 km/h (31 mph).
I’m sure that Chevy and the Volt team are keeping a close eye on BYD and it’s F3DM. They certainly should be. After all, you can make the best car in the world, but without the right price point and infrastructure to back it up, you won’t see the demand for it.
Adam Shake is a guest writer for Gas2.org and founder of Twilight Earth.com. He works in Washington DC and is an environmental writer, advocate and activist.
Photo courtesy MarkinDetroit via Flickr Creative Commons Lisence