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BYD Auto Introduces Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle in Detroit; On Sale This Year in China

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 F6DM.

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.



Phevs are especially a good deal for kids living at home with their parents or for those with solar panels on the roof. Hopefully nanosolar which is currently making cheap solar available will ramp up production efforts so that we can all benefit by putting affordable solar electricity into our phevs.


....if you use $4 gas and $0.08 per kwh, you get $1114 per year for a 35 mpg non-hybrid....

That implies 9750 miles/year, which is a little silly. New US cars average around 14k miles/year (old cars average less), so at $4/gal, gas cost for a 35mpg non-hybrid is $1600. A 35mpg conventional car will get 50mpg when hybridized, so annual PHEV cost is:

(11,200 EV miles / 4 miles/kWh) * $0.08/kWh = $224
(2,800 gas miles / 50 mpg) * $4/gal = $224

Annual savings is thus 1600 - 448 = 1152 and payback period is a bit over 5 years. Different assumptions change the payback period, but it's clear a $6k PHEV premium is a reasonable economic deal for the customer even without subsidies.

Now let's make the case for subsidies. MASSIVE subsidies. At current prices the US spends over $400 billion per year on oil imports, plus another $200 billion per year on mideast military adventures. Subsidizing the ENTIRE $6000 premium for all 16 million new cars sold annually in the US would only cost $96 billion. Buying enough wind turbines to fuel the EV miles for those PHEVs would cost another $20b/year. This is peanuts compared to our current costs. We're talking about a half trillion dollars dollars per year staying in the US economy. That's almost $5000 per household per year. That's enough to wipe out most of our trade deficit.

PHEV subsidies are an absolute no brainer on a macro basis. We are idiots for not doing it.


Payback period starts the day you buy your car. The extra amount in the monthly payment can be equal to the amount you save in fuel every month. You are paying no more every month than if you bought the less fuel efficient vehicle. I agree that a tax structure favoring fuel efficiency would be helpful. But since most hybrids are made elsewhere, the laws that have been written so far leave the buyer not knowing what they will get.


Let us not forget ELECTRIC

Reasonable priced city cars !

How many miles do you need around cities ?

Harvey D

@ Realist:

Try using a Csiro Ultra battery pack (100 000 + miles) at 30% of the cost and gas at $6/gallon or $7/gallon.

Break even time would be very few years and you would be many thousand dollars ahead before 10 years. If you add lower maintenance cost, lower GHG associated direct and indirect cost etc a PHEV quickly becomes a much better buy.


Harvey, the Ultrabattery achieved 100k miles on a HEV duty cycle. It wouldn't last nearly that long on the much more demanding PHEV cycle. Furthermore, 20 kWh of Ultrabatteries would weigh a ton.

Harvey D


Your statements may not be correct.

The AFS Trinity used the Csiro Ultrabattery Combo ESSU in their 150 mpg PHEV.

The e-commodore Ultrabattery pack ESSU weighted only 200 Kg.

The Firefly Lead Battery has an energy density of 90 to 160 Wh/Kg and going up to 170 Wh/Kg in the near future. This compares with many lithium based units at much less cost.

Lead batteries alone may not be the best solution for PHEVs but when coupled with super-caps and Firefly units it is another game.

First generatiopn affordable PHEVs may need a lower cost ESSU based on older lead technology.



AFS uses a lithium-ion/ultracap package, not the lead-acid/ultracap UltraBattery.

The E-Commodore isn't a PHEV. Ultrabattery may work for low-capacity HEV applications where weight is less of an issue.

I've followed Firefly for three years and have never seen claims as high as 160 Wh/kg. Please document. Recent announcements guide to a mere 60 Wh/kg (see earlier GreenCarCongess article). They still might have a chance if they're really cheap. No need for ultracaps, though, a pack of Firefly's large enough to provide good PHEV range should produce ample power without assistance.

Eric Yee

Where is there North American operation at this time.


Here is an interesting test drive at the show :)



It seems like the BYD's batteries are located LOWER DOWN and even more OUT OF THE WAY in this BYD hybrid compared to the battery location in a Prius.

Maybe the battery pack(s) are custom-shaped to spaces in the vehicle's frame?

(I saw a diagram somewhere that I couldn't quite make sense of.)

Can anyone confirm? Well, if so, that alone would be a real advantage for BYD in cabin space and center of gravity.


I can hardly wait for this car...I was signed up to get a volt in june of 08 for 20k, they changed the price to 23k and won't be able to deliver until the end of 09 at 40k, NO THANKS, gm...just stand back and see how the chinese produce batterys and ev's.
Oh, and solar, hydrogen, and the fuel cell, sit back have a domestic beer, and watch the chinese or india produce them.

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