BYD Auto of China Dreams Big
Yet another Chinese car company that no one has ever heard of is talking big, and I mean, real big. BYD Auto told China Daily earlier this month that it will be producing 13 million vehicles annually by 2025 and will challenge Toyota and GM for global sales supremacy.
OK, it’s always good to have goals, but the small, privately-owned BYD sold all of 60,000 units last year. That’s quite a bit less than 1% of what GM and Toyota sold last year. And just a couple of years ago, BYD was a little battery manufacturer that made no cars. They got into the car business by buying a tiny bankrupt auto maker named Qingchaun that produced around 100 units a month.
The BYD F1 – it retails for around $3200 USD
Part of the BYD plan is to skirt the all-out competitive firefights in the current automotive market by producing electric cars in the future.
The company just announced that they will be displaying both plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2008. BYD says they plan to start selling their own cars in the U.S. in late 2008 or early 2009, though they have no engineering or design expertise in-house that would help them in meeting the many U.S. requirements for light passenger vehicles.
“Electric cars will be the trump card for us in the global arena. We expect them to account for half of our total sales by 2015,” commented Xia Zhibing, BYD’s sales chief.
The company currently has a hybrid car called the F6 that uses a Mitsubishi engine paired with a battery pack in the last stages of development and expects to roll that model out in 2008. A company spokesman claims that the F6 will have a battery-only range of 400 kilometers and a battery-only top-speed of 160 kilometers per hour. BYD also stated that the F6, curiously enough, will use an iron-based battery pack that can be recharged to 70% capacity in approximately 10 minutes. The company claims that this revolutionary, new kind of battery took 500 employees to perfect, and that it will be used not just in their cars but in toys, mobile phones, laptops and power tools.
BYD also says that they will have an EV for sale in 2009.
Wow! That is a lot to think about.
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