Posted by: carboncreditsusa | January 19, 2009

Electric Vehicle Update: Chinese Automaker “BYD Auto Co.” Will Sell Electric Vehicles In U.S. By 2011 At Around $20,000

Chinese automaker BYD Auto Company pitched its F3DM plug-in electric hybrid car to U.S. consumers on Monday at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show and said it plans to begin selling its vehicles here in 2011.

BYD also left the door open for building cars in the U.S. BYD Chairman and President Wang Chuanfu said in a statement that the company plans to establish manufacturing facilities in the U.S. “when it is appropriate.”

Wang was backstopped at Monday’s press event by David Sokol, chairman of MidAmerican Energy Holdings, the energy wing of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, which last fall acquired a 10 percent stake in BYD Auto’s parent company, BYD Company LTD.

“We are working with BYD on developing charging technologies and infrastructure that would help promote plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles,” Sokol said. “For the electric-vehicle market to mature, the underlying charging infrastructure and technologies must mature at least simultaneously, if not first. Perhaps like no other corporate entity in the world, we are in a position to help make that happen.”

Last month, BYD kicked off sales of its plug-in electric hybrid car in China — at least a year ahead of competitors in the U.S. and Japan. The F3DM plugs into a standard outlet and comes with a small gas engine that can recharge the battery on the go.

The Wall Street Journal on Monday noted that “no startup has grown into a major automaker in at least half a century” and added that “it’s still a bumpy road to a full-blown era of battery cars.” But Wang told the Journal that “with electric vehicles, we’re all at the same starting line.”

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