BYD F6DM Sedan

BYD F6DM Sedan

In January 2008 at the Detroit auto show, Chinese car maker Byd Automobile Company will present its BYD F6DM ("Dual Mode") Sedan. When it goes into production later that year, it will be the finest Plug-in Electric Hybrid (PHEV) on the road—because it will be the only specifically-designed PHEV on the road.

by Ross Bonander, Contributing Writer

  • Type: Plug-in hybrid (PHEV)
  • Class: Sedan
  • Manufacturer: BYD Auto
  • Top Speed: 100 mph
  • Vehicle range: 330 miles (60 in electric, 270 on the gas engine)
  • Fuel(s): Gasoline & electricity
  • Battery system: Iron-based (10 minute station re-charge, 9 hour home recharge)
  • Tailpipe emissions: Yes

The Manufacturer Says...

The BYD F6DM Sedan "will be a 'bi-fuel' vehicle operated on both gasoline and electricity, thus customers can choose either the fuel system or electric battery in driving."

The Critics Say...

"With its potent technology base, look for Byd to become a major player in hybrids and EVs." –Edmunds.com

What We Like

The range. BYD is claiming the BYD F6DM has a range of 330 miles (60 miles in electric mode, 270 on the gas engine). If this bears out, it’s not bad for a plug-in hybrid.

The battery system. Although the automotive trend is towards lithium-ion batteries, the BYD F6DM uses iron-based batteries, allowing it to recharge to full capacity in only ten minutes at a designated charging station. Otherwise, recharging at home requires 9 hours.

The price. Early estimates suggest the BYD F6DM will retail for under $20,000.

What We Don’t Like

The body. The images offered for the BYD F6DM thus far present a vehicle that looks an awful lot like a certain line of BMWs.

The availability. It appears BYD does not intend to market the BYD F6DM to North America.

Beyond that, we don’t currently know enough about the BYD F6DM to say anything more about what we do or do not like.

Conclusion

BYD has only been in the automotive business since 2005 following its acquisition of Chinese-based Qinchuan, and the BYD F6DM Sedan is something of a coming-out party for them. Therefore it’s too early to pass any reasonable judgement on either the vehicle or the manufacturer.

However, for consumers PHEVs represent the smoothest potential transition to alternative fuels from the internal combustion engine vehicle. Unlike traditional hybrids, under certain conditions in a PHEV owners never have to use the gasoline engine if they make a point to avoid it. In other words, a successfully developed and operated PHEV opens up the path for other manufacturers to follow suit.

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