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BYD F3DM Plug-in Hybrid Goes On Sale in China

BYD Auto’s plug-in hybrid version of its F3 (F3DM for dual mode) went on sale in China today for about 150,000 yuan (about US$21,900). BYD plans to bring the F3DM to the US in 2010, and will show the car at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show in January.

The F3DM. Click to enlarge.

The F3DM, unveiled this year at the Geneva Motor Show in March (earlier post) uses a version of the dual-mode powertrain shown by BYD on the F6 at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show (earlier post).

The dual-mode powertrains actually supports three modes of operation:

  • Full battery-powered EV mode;
  • Series-hybrid mode, in which an engine drives a generator as a range-extender; and
  • Parallel hybrid mode, in which the engine and motor both provide propulsive power.

BYD Auto, which is 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), uses lithium-ion iron phosphate cells from its parent company in its energy storage system.

BYD says the F3DM has a range of 100 km (62 miles) on battery power alone with a top speed of 160 kph (99 mph). The 330V, 40 Ah Li-ion pack has life of more than 2,000 cycles, according to BYD Auto. On a household 220V power supply, a full recharge takes 8 to 9 hours.

The DM powertrain incorporates BYD’s own 50 kW 3-cylinder, 1.0-liter BYD371QA aluminum engine, and has a combined maximum output of 125 kW.

BYD Auto says it plans to begin production of all-electric vehicles in 2009.



This is extremely important and wonderful news. It is the strongest indication yet that it is indeed possibly to produce a nice high-way capable car with four seats and much more than 100 mpg for only 22,000 USD including profits and without a lease for the battery.

They have a 330*40 = 13.2 kWh battery probably 20kWh in total and 13.2 kWh of usable energy to preserve the 2000 cycle life or 2000*62 = 124,000 miles which is about 10 years of ordinary use. Assuming they need a 20kWh battery and 5000 USD for that battery (it cannot be much more with 22,000 for the entire car) it means BYD has found a way to manufacture LiFePO4 batteries for 250 USD per kWh. This is on par with lead acid batteries but with a battery that lasts 3 times longer in terms of cycles and is 3 times more energy dense than lead acid.

Tesla wrote auto history by being the first company to deliver a real EV car to consumer. But BYD is going to turn the auto industry upside down with their cars if these prices hold water also in volume production. Also note that they are 2 years ahead in terms of development with regard to other serious auto makers. They will be building a nice portfolio of patents that will prevent other from copying them cheaply. BYD is going to be bigger than GE in a decade or two IMO.

Johan Erlandsson

I agree this is very promising news, but we must remember that if the car is charged with electricity produced from coal, not much is won, if anything.


The F3DM drivetrain/battery value is a breakthrough!! At $22k US and 60 mi/charge, gasoline would rarely be used. Some articles state a high amp charge rate of 80% SOC in 15 minutes! Better Place etc; license that battery!
The gasoline engine would be used ~only on cross country travel. Remaining world petro would be used mainly for trucking/aviation.
BYD projects 20,000 units in 2009 (think a higher magnitude). Buffet knew where his 220 million was going.


Yes, so they beat GM by two years and built their version of the Volt, at half price.. but the Volt will still be the first one built by free people.

Relax, its a joke.. but start taking Chinese lessons.


This is the first significant indication that the traditional advanced economies are loosing their edge and that new technology is being adopted more quickly in the new economies.


How do you say "I'll buy it!" in Chinese?


Lets wait for some western tests first.
Lets hope they can produce enough batteries.
Lets see how long the batteries last.

I hope it is a success, because if so, we will need a whole lot less liquid fuel in wealthy, capital intensive countries.


Very good news for all future PHEV and BEV buyers but not a real surprise. BYD has been working on those vehicles and batteries for years while the Big-3 were boosting the production of dinosaurs.

Two years ahead of GM Volt, not too many of us can claim that USA was copied. Will it be the other way around?

With its in-house capabilities, BYD can produce a whole family of affordable PHEVs and BEVs and other (2, 3 and 4 wheels) electrified vehicles before the Big-3 can produce a single (high price) PHEV. Tata-India could do the same shorthly.

With $34 B to $125 B bail outs, could the Big-3 be mandated to mass produce $20K PHEV-60 (miles)?


Very good news indeed!

Note the 100 km range is for 50 km/h speed only. So in real life the range will be significantly lower. The pack is supposed to be 80 % effective after 2 000 charges and usable up to 4 000.

In hindsight I would have advised them to buy blueprints for a crash test approved body from a major manufacturer for this one instead of trying to do it by themselves. Here in Europe there is now probably a longish wait for them to fix the safety of the vehicle until we can have a shot at buying one.

I'm waiting for the IIHS and NHTSA crash test ratings first.

Let's see how many patents and copyrights they have violated on this one...



Yes, nothing is going to be left unturned to block and/or delay the local sales of lower cost Chinese and Indian built PHEVs and BEVs, to protect our inefficient car industries.

However, many other countries, without car industires to protect, will benefit from affordable electrified vehicles.

The Big-3 + major Oil Cos + complacent goverments and unions will not manage to fight the arrival of various size affordable electrifed vehicles forever. Free market and free societies will prevail, sooner or latter.



Have you noted BYD's share price lately?


With a viable $22,000 USD PHEV on this earth, who would invest in a $40,000 one available in Nov. 2010 if the company isn't bankrupt this month?

Sounds like a job for a politician with our tax dollars..


Thats far more expensive then that had planned and the battery is still just a standard cell phone battery of lousy density and lifespan and massive weight.

I wouldnt be shocked if some mild/full hybrid cars comming out of the big three get better milage then this thing does and dont waste many hybrid cars worth of batteries to do it too.


GM Volt= can only goes for 40 miles rang+ cost over $40,000.00

Who the hell would want to buy that? The quality of GM has been hit hard.

It is amazing that one would not care about personal safety and vehicular reliability if they feel they can be "green" at a lower initial investment.

If it meets standard safety equivalent to all the manufacturers in the US and has a reasonable reliability rating after a few years on the market then I am all for it...otherwise I will not be one of the people jumping on this knowing nothing about the manufacturer's vehicular production and engineering capabilities.

No, I would never own a SUV or large luxury vehicle because I am "safer" than in a compact but I certainly would not give up a few "stars" in crash ratings within a single vehicle class.


Leave it to Harvey to note the Big 3 are years behind without a mention of Toyota, Nissan, Honda (not even making a PHEV) & the Europeans. BTW Harvey, GM made series PHEV versions of the EV1 before BYD was even building cars.

You want to mandate the production of PHEVs? You better be mandating the subsidies too, because unless that car or at least its batteries, is made in China, it will cost $35,000 for sure. People will be able to purchase comparably nice 40 mpg cars for half the price.

Quick math: 10,000 miles/year @ $5 a gallon
40 mpg car = $1250 in fuel
100 mpg car = $500 in fuel

Even assuming those fuel prices it takes 23 year to recover the cost. Even double it to $10/gallon and the car barely breaks even. I don't think PHEVs/EVs can succeed in North America without Chinese-built/priced batteries. How many people are going to throw their money away during/right after a huge economic shock? Consider also total cost of ownership, insurance will likely be higher on PHEVs as well. Leased batteries might be the best chance of getting PHEVs on the roads soon if all OEMs don't have access to BYD priced batteries, because BYD will take a while to have much volume here.

Then again, North America is full of irrational consumers, so maybe getting them to jump from irrational $40K SUVs to irrational $40K electric cars won't be such a challenge. But what is in it for them? They obviously could care less about fuel savings, when prices dropped to current levels gas guzzler sales relatively improved, and hybrid sales nose-dived harder than those of the Big 3. How it is that the diesel business case is failing, but electric cars wouldn't? People in North America are into wasting money on things they value, such as hugeness.

The economic crisis could be a real threat to electric cars' timely introduction into worldwide markets IMO.



I have to agree with you this time.

I said that bail outs $$$ B should come with strict conditions and mandated goals with regards to the progressive transition to affordable PHEVs and BEVs mass production.

Production ramp ups should be stated and agreed on as part of the $$$ B bail outs general conditions.

Multi-billion bail outs should not be for business as usual and be used to build more dinosaurs.

I also mentionned that BIG-3's overpriced ($40+K) extended e-range PHEVs may not sell that well when equivalent ICE vehicles are available at $25K or less, unless a revenue neutral Malus-Bonus program is used to reduce and/or eliminate the selling price differences.

However, in our glorified free market society, those who cannot compete in a worldwide market should be allowed to fold. Multi-billion $$$ bail outs for our mismanaged financial instituitions and car factories is not what a free market economy is (or should be) about. Free market economies are based on the survival of the most fitted and conniving.

Bail outs are game changers. Managers' major failures are washed up with tax payers' money instead of letting them take there well deserved place in the soup line.

Henry Gibson

Considering the fuel used to refine oil and the CO2 released in doing that as well as the higher efficiency of coal fired power plants compared to the lower efficiency of automobile engines, electric cars produce less CO2, less NOx, less HC, less CO and those amounts that are produced are monitored and not released at ground level.

The first practical commercial electric car was delivered over a hundred years ago. And shortly after that time there were more electric cars on the road than gasoline ones.

Almost no one buys a new car for transportation only, and buying a new car almost precludes the idea that it was bought for transportation only as many used cars are sufficient for reliable transportation and less expensive. There is no way that any electric car can be economical transportation unless it it used. ..HG..

Peace Hugger

It scored 4 out of 5 stars on the European test. The founder has set ambitious goals for the company. It's no Yugo.


If this car has the quality to satisfy US buyers, I expect them to meet requirements and import them in a year or 2.
Never mind the paranoia about blocking -delaying importation or about incompetent auto industry management.
The Chinese make free toys for McDonalds that would cost us more than the whole kid's meal. So of course they can make a BEV for 40 to 60%; for the same reasons (which do not include corporate management).


about the price of 22k...remember BYD makes the cheapest gasoline car under expect huge crap quality.


oh sorry the cheapest car they make is actually under 3k...


oh and the hybrid they make is according to people above who saying BYD is better than GM is saying BYD is better than Toyota too...

Peace Hugger

We have heard of Sony recalling their crap batteries but we have not heard of fingers pointing at BYD's. I have a feeling they gonna be China's Honda.

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