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USA: BYD e6 Electric Crossover: Now Coming In 2013, Fleets First

You don’t hear as much worrying these days about the threat of Chinese automakers entering the U.S. market with inexpensive cars.

Nor do you hear concerns over Chinese electric-car makers swamping sales of the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt, which have racked up more than 23,300 sales between them since December 2010.

So the fate of the BYD e6 electric crossover–the first Chinese electric car proposed for the U.S. market–has receded from public discussion in recent months.

Lately, the company has focused on a small test fleet with the Los Angeles Housing Authority and its attempts to get the e6 certified for U.S. sale.

Still, BYD says it fully intends to sell cars in the U.S.–but now it will start with fleet sales.

The company told The New York Times that it expects the e6 to go on sale next year, with the earliest sales to fleet buyers that include rental-car companies.

Indeed, Jack Hidary of Hertz told the Times that his company is already offering two BYD e6 electric cars for rental in Shenzhen, China, to gain data on how they operate.

Michael Austin, president of BYD America, added that the Hertz e6 rental program would soon expand to Beijing and Shanghai.

BYD e6-B

The BYD e6 is available for retail sale only in Shenzhen, with incentives that give a $19,000 rebate to buyers of the $58,000 electric vehicle. The e6 would likely have to sell for far less if it goes on sale to individual car buyers in the U.S.
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