|The engine, generator, motor and power control unit of the F6DM. Click to enlarge.|
BYD Auto, a subsidiary of China-based BYD Group, the leading provider of NiCd batteries (65% global market share) and lithium-ion cell phone batteries (30% global market share), introduced its plug-in hybrid electric vehicle technology at the North American International Auto Show.
The F6DM (Dual Mode, for EV and HEV), a variant of the front-wheel drive F6 sedan that BYD introduced into the China market earlier this year, actually offers three modes of operation: full battery-powered EV mode driving its 75 kW, 400 Nm motor; series-hybrid mode, in which a 50 kW, 1.0-liter engine drives a generator as a range-extender; and parallel hybrid mode, in which the engine and motor both provide propulsive power.
The FD6M starts out in EV mode. At medium speed it will shift to range-extending series hybrid mode, and at high speed it will shift to full parallel mode. In addition to the 100 km of EV range, the HEV modes add another 330 km of range, for a total vehicle range of 430 km (267 miles).
The F6DM uses a 20 kWh lithium iron phosphate battery pack, based on BYD’s own production cells (which the company calls its Fe cells). The pack, which runs down the center console, has a lifetime of 2,000 cycles. A 100% recharge with household 220 VAC takes approximately 9 hours. BYD says that the pack can achieve a 50% recharge in 10 minutes.
The 1,800kg vehicle has a top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph). It is Euro 4 compliant, according to BYD, and emits 70 g CO2/km.
Although BYD initially used Mitsubishi engines, it now makes its own. BYD also designed the motors, control systems and software for the DM technology.
BYD plans to begin selling the F6DM in China this fall, at approximately a $6,000 premium to the non-hybrid F6. The plug-in hybrid technology represented in the FD6M is relatively low-cost, according to BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu, and could be applied to any of the BYD line (F3, F3R, F8) for the same $6,000 cost increment.
Chairman Wang said that he hoped to have DM technology on sale in the North American market in three to five years.
BYD is relatively young, being founded in 1995. The provider of IT components and batteries now has some 100,000 employees. In 2003, BYD Group acquired the Tsinchuan Automobile Company, which became the basis for BYD Auto.
BYD currently has two automotive assembly manufacturing plants in Xi’an and in Shenzhen, and R&D and testing center in Shanghai, and a mould plant in Beijing. The company currently has production capacity of 300,000 units per year.