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China: BYD Says Its On Track to Deliver Electric Car In Q2 2012

BYD says the e6 all-electric sedan will provide between 140 and 200 miles of range, but that’s untested. Last year, BYD told PluginCars.com that the vehicle—featuring a huge 60 kWh battery pack—will sell for $35,000 before incentives.

Last week, I met with Stella Li, senior vice president of BYD Co. I came away thinking BYD is saying the right things as far as setting up distribution, building its brand, and all that other stuff that selling cars involves. But BYD is relying on its battery technology to be a big selling tool. And I would still like to see some independent testing on its battery before I accept the automaker’s capacity claims.

Li says that BYD will start selling its battery-electric buses and sedans to fleets in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of this year. A BYD electric bus is currently on a demonstration tour of the U.S. to show off the technology, she said. Sales to consumers of the e6 crossover will start in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2012, she said. The BYD vehicles have passed all the necessary safety tests for the U.S. market, Li said, and the results would be out in the fourth quarter of this year.

BYD is talking to potential dealers right now, and would have an announcement by the fourth quarter. It is aiming for up to 20 dealers in the first year, she said. BYD dealerships will be showcases for all of its green technology, including the car, recharge station, solar panels, battery, and LED light bulbs. So BYD is searching for dealers who have “a great passion for green,” said Li.

BYD’s Stella Li

Unlike some EV producers, who see their product as a whole new paradigm, BYD seems to see its EVs as cars, but ones with that run on a battery instead of gas. “We don’t want people to buy this as a toy,” said Li. “We want our EV to serve as a transport vehicle.”
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