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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.


Bob Bastard

toyo, I believe the the NiMH battery pack in my wife's 08 Prius is rated at 600 cycles, so 2000 cycles is a big improvement. I'm guessing that like the Prius and other hybrids, the control software in the BYD will not allow the battery to deep cycle each time but will try to maintain the charge within a specified charge state. For example, I think the Prius maintains the battery between 40%-80% charge (off the top of my head).


BYD, isn't this the company that singed a long term technology sharing agreement with GM. And as soon as they had learned what they wanted to know, they told GM to get lost.

Oh Yeah, IT IS

This company has less integrity than GM, WOW.


Yes, at $8/gallon PHEVs make sense. I live in the US where we pay $3 for gas and $0.15 per kwh for electricity. Sadly, if you buy a PHEV, you are still paying for the war in Iraq unless someone figures out how to transfer the war tax to the pump. I agree on the global warming issues but a majority of US consumers don't seem to care about the world that their children will inherit. The answer is a new form of transportation not incrementalism. You can't jump a 20 foot chasm in two 10 ft jumps.


I live in the US where gas is $3.25/gallon and electricity is $0.08 per kWh

Roger Pham

This is exactly the kind of serial-parallel hybrid EV that I had been referring to here in GCC. There is no need for a transmission, since the electric motor assumes the low speed propulsion and low-speed torque. Since the battery is small, the engine driving a generator will provide supplemental current to the motor for acceleration. At cruise, the engine will be mechanically coupled to the drive train, thereby minizing electrical loss via the generator-motor route in the pure serial hybrid, while the motor will supplement the engine's torque when climbing hills, simulating a downshift to low gear, while when descending a hill, the engine will maintain its peak-efficiency output by recharging the battery, hence maintaining peak engine thermal efficiency for most of the time.

The quality of certain Chinese-made electrical products is quite good. I am flying electric R/C helicopters made in China, and the quality and durability is surprisingly good, clearly up to par with the rest.


toyo said:

"The battery pack has a life of only 2000 cycles? Is anyone else concerned about this? After 2000 cycles, the battery won't just be depleted, it will die."


After 2000 deep cycles (the worst possible kind of wear and tear you can put on a Li-on battery) the battery would be reduced to 80% of its original capacity. Not dead yet! In addition, the battery will be oversized to avoid deep cycling it. 2000 is a very respectable cycle life (at this time).


Roger: A post without any mention of H2?!? Are you feeling well? ;)

Healthy Breeze

As an efficiency nut, I admire the sensibilities of their Tri-mode. It sounds to me like they made a good choice to underpower the gas motor, and then have only a small gas tank that they hope you will hardly ever need because you will mostly plug in. That saves weight two ways and makes more space for electronics and batteries. We don't really need a big gas tank for 800+ miles range on this puppy, because the point is to mostly use it as a BEV anyway.

That said, I expect performance tradeoffs from the trimode. Cruising with the ICE and adding electric for passing power should work. Adding electric boost is instantanous. However, when doing a standing start (say, trying to merge onto the freeway), the first mode is electric, and won't it take time for the ice to engage? I'm guessing it is poor at a standing start because of lag on starting the ice. They seem to have sacrificed gearing (again saving weight and complexity) that means the ice can't help until a certain speed is obtained (probably 20 mph or so).

It's easy to believe the Chinese will have done many things that won't fly in other markets, but what they have done is realized that 100 mpg of all gasoline operation could reduce their oil imports 70%.

The Loremo could do that with an ICE. UC Davis got to 78 mpg with an aluminum bodied Ford Sedan more than 10 years ago in the Supercar competition. There are a lot of good options. It's good someone is being aggressive putting some of them into production.


"A 100% recharge with household 220 VAC takes approximately 9 hours. BYD says that the pack can achieve a 50% recharge in 10 minutes."

So, if your battery is discharged to 50% - you can charge it to 100% in ten minutes?


And the small issue: "World suffering crisis of confidence in China manufacturing?"

Where's the safety data on this vehicle??


sulleny, I doubt they ever let the batteries reach 0% it gets to 50% from whatever the normal minimum is set to in 10 minutes.

Roger Pham

Healthy Breeze,
For maximum low-speed acceleration, the ICE powers the generator solely to provide current to the motor, hence pure serial hybrid at even zero mph. For more standing-still torque or low-speed torque, use a bigger motor. The engine should only engage the drive train
mechanically when the car is in cruising mode (low to zero acceleration) at adequate speed when the engine can operate at its peak thermal efficiency regime.

With currently available high-power-to-weight electric motors, no performance sacrifice will need to be made with this serial-parallel hybrid and pure EV setup (tri-mode).

OK, Neil,
if you want H2 mentioned, they can just simply adapt the engine to run on compressed-and-adsorbed H2 in reasonably-sized tank. Direct-injection H2 (diesel cycle) will do well in an ICE, and has projected thermal efficiency of up to 50%. Look at the CIBAI concept, but in this case, instead of inject air to augment the compression necessary for ignition, compressed H2 is instead injected at near TDC to boost compression to the ignition point of H2, and then, boom, combustion takes place. A spark plug or a glow plug can further assist if needs be. The H2-direct-injection engine will only need a compression ratio of about 8-10, since injection of H2 will boost the compression to much higher, allowing gasoline engine to be easily modified to run on H2, or even dual-fuel gasoline-H2 engine is possible, with port-gasoline injection and H2 direct injection.
Hope this will make you happy, Neil :)

Roger Pham

(Cont. from above)
An Atkinson cycle gasoline engine with variable intake valve timing will be best for dual gasoline-H2 engine, since the engine can have lower effective compression ratio when used with gasoline, and higher compression ratio when used with H2 in the direct-injection Diesel cycle, for adequate expansion.

Healthy Breeze

@ Patrick,

Ah, don't forget that these are marketing claims. If my cell phone is any indication, getting from 0% to 50% is the quick and easy part, and getting from 50% to 100% is the tedious part. Never mind that it's really bad for the battery to deep cycle it, they still will claim the benefit. It is a benefit if you totally drain your car, although it probably doesn't mean you can go 50% of your all-electric range after only 10 minutes of, I'd be wary of that claim.

Stan Peterson

Dream On. So many of you are gullible. Y'all beleived the Phoenix EV baloney, and as time passes we still don't see any $200,000 Phoenix electric sportcars.

BYD is a battery maker that has little experience in auto manufacture. When they have a vehicle that is importable, passes all the required tests, in about half a dozen years, they may become a player.

But by then all the established players will have similar or better vehicles. If they want to win, they wil have to eneter at the low end, compete on price, and build an image.

So many of you justly criticize vaporware and concept cars from the majors; bu then fall for this. But this is the TRUE GENUINE vaporware.


The charging curve is a bit non-linear. As HB pointed out, the last bit takes longer. You can improve battery life by taking all this into account and since batteries cost a lot, this is a wise thing to do.

Stan Peterson

In all the payback calculations, many of you just do not realize what will happen to oil prices. You merrily go on as if Oil prices can grow to the sky, forever.

Before 2020 and perhaps as early as 2015 or so, there will be a gargantuan and long enduring petreoleum price collapse.

When oil demand falls by half as a sea of HEVS, PHEVS, BEVS, and Small, clean turbodiesels flood and start replacing the world's auto fleets, there will be a lot of Sheiks and Commissars that will have oil to sell, and no buyers. That price action happened with a mere 5-10% excess capacity then; not the enormous overcapacity that will occur in the world then.

Now I know many of you never studied real world economics in your Marxist schools; but I assure you that it happened already in the early eighties, and oil collapsed to $10 a barrel. You seem to think that competiton must cause prices to respond to demand/supply instantaneously.

Markets take time to adjust in the real world. All these cars you see here, are the market response. Substitution is occurring right before your eyes, and you refuse to see it. As these vehicles emerge from factories, petroleum is being substituted for, by electricity, efficiency and perhaps a little conservation.

It's a long ways down from whatever the Commissars/Sheiks will have bid it up to by then, and the 75 cents or so for an electric gallon equivalent. Once people make the transition to petroleum substitutes, it will be tough for the nationalized oil producers to come back to reality; but they will be forced to so.


I think Stan's on to something. How long will the oil clowns try to milk their product when this generation PHEVs run on 115 mpg ethanol/biodiesel made from garbage? More than one or two Sheiks are shrieking at their accountant's income projections.

Dino juice = collapsing income, loss of political leverage, outdated resources, failed vision, = $6.00/barrel sweet crude. Ol' Jed Clampit's movin' back to thar hills...


By 2020 global oil production will have fallen 30% if we are lucky. Production is in free fall in many important fields now. The price will not fall - rationing will be imposed by lack of supply well before prices ever get to $8 a USG in the US. How we are going to come up with some "fair" way of distributing petrol/ diesel/ gasoline/ parafin/ JetA I do not know - we won't, the nasty scramble (Iraq) is about to get much worse if we do not get some more responsible "leaders" into authority.



Roger Pham

Great point, Stan.
With all the fat profit from escalating oil prices, the oil barrons and Sheiks will simply buy up the lithium and nickel and cobalt mines, and instead, we will have peak lithium instead of peak oil...and the rich will get richer, still ...and the mass of the people will again have to pay up, as usual. They did teach that in Marxist school, you know!
That's the third and last certainty in this life, beside Death and Taxes...

BYD may have little experience in auto manufacturing, but they are the expert in large-scale battery manufacturing, which is the weak-link of an EV or PHEV. They will simply team up with, merge, or acquire a major auto manufacturer in order to quickly gain the expertise.


Twelve years from now oil's market share will have plummeted to 30% with old, outdated equipment, ICEs the only remaining consumers of gasoline (except antique collectors.) What the doomers fail to acknowledge is that ethanol/biodiesel can be made from almost any carbon biomass. If the big outfits don't deliver (and make money) look for roadside ethanol stands. They made it in bathtubs in the twenties - they will do it again.

As far as leadership - proof in the pudding. Oil on the run. Dozens new hybrids coming to market. Mass conversion to alternative energy sources. Major reductions in air pollutants, GHGs, petro-related disease, etc. People on Earth waking up to 10,000 years of exploitation?


As I stated above, I still don't see the business model in the US. My prior numbers were $3 gas and $0.15 per kWh, if you use $4 gas and $0.08 per kwh, you get $1114 per year for a 35 mpg non-hybrid and $390 gas + $159 elec = $550 per year for PHEV. The payback is 10 years ,so with a 10 year warranty on the battery you are just breaking even. Without subsidies or massive taxes you don't really have a product.


Well, with Hummers still being sold, we won't see the price of oil coming down too much. High prices will drive some fuel substitution but oil demand is so high, it will take quite a while to offset production decline. This will have to happen to lower the price much.


One million hybrids sold each year is less than 1% of the fleet, after 10 years you have less than 10% getting 40-50% better mileage for maybe a 2% reduction in oil used. (70% of the oil goes into transportation and 40% of that is personal transportation) With increases in the number of cars and miles driven, this could be even less.

It is worth doing, but we have to be realistic about the results. Changing behavior patterns is a very quick way to reduce oil consumption. Driving that big SUV less is a good start. If SUVs and light trucks use twice as much gasoline as a hybrid per mile and 20% of the vehicles on the road are SUVs and light trucks, you can see that driving them less would help. Behavior changes do not require technology.

E10 is 10% less gasoline and a reduction in oil consumption. 3% here 2% there and more with behavior changes and we could get to 5-6% reduction in oil consumption over where we would have been if we did nothing.

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