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China: BYD E6 and the EV Range Solution

BYD Co Ltd (Build Your Dreams 002594.SZ) is on schedule to enter the growing EV market with the E6 crossover in Q2 of 2012, reports senior vice president Stella Li to Alysha Webb of Plug-in Cars.

It is an interesting time in EV marketing as each manufacturer tries to present their technological solution and win EV popularity. Tesla first gave us the sexiest electric vehicle. Nissan is trying to give us the mass-produced EV. GM is telling us not to be afraid. While all the manufacturers are happy to point out how clean these vehicles are to operate, an ever present undercurrent is the vehicle range and vehicle cost. With the BYD E6, we can focus on range issues.

Battery Capacity

A battery manufacturer that has started building vehicles, BYD could be expected to do something special with the battery. At 60 kWh, the E6 battery is almost 4 times the size of the battery in the GM Volt or Mitsubishi I, and it is more than twice the size of the Nissan Leaf battery. At 53 kWh, only the Tesla Roadster battery pack comes close in size. The capacity of the battery, combined with the way in which the car is driven, the efficiency of the vehicle, and the weightof the vehicle, will determine the vehicle range.

Vehicle Efficiency

Most vehicles on the roads today operate using gasoline or diesel. Not only are we dependent upon petrochemicals, but we use these in essentially only one engine design, the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE). Cars with an internal combustion engine require transmissions, due to no torque at 0 RPM. We have to first bring the engine up to speed and then slip the clutch or use a torque converter to slowly transfer power.

Gasoline is a very energy dense fuel, but by the time we measure how much energy reaches the wheels, we find that it is only about 15% efficient. The balance is wasted. Electric motors are far more efficient. Electric motors have great starting torque and an EV will typically have only one fixed gear with a direct connection. The electric car can be over 90% efficient from battery to wheels.



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