BEIJING – BYD Auto unveiled its all-electric vehicle, the e6, amidst the opening of the 10th China International Auto Show, or Auto China 2008, on April 20, 2008 in Beijing.
According to BYD’s catalogue being distributed at the event, the e6, representing “new energy, new power and new concept,” is powered by a BYD independently developed Fe battery and has zero emission and low noise. It has a maximum speed of over 160 km/hr and can accelerate from 0-60 km/hr in less than 10 seconds.
BYD chairman Wang Chuanfu said at the news conference that the e6 can be recharged from either a household power outlet or via a 3C quick charge at a professional charging station, which can replenish the battery up to 80 percent in only 15 minutes. It can run a maximum distance of 300 km on a single full charge. With dimensions of 4554x1822x1630 mm it is a spacious five-seater.
At the unveiling ceremony of the e6, along with Wang also present were two long-term government officials supervising the country’s automotive sector – Chen Bin, director of the Department of Industry under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and Chen Jianguo, its deputy director.
“We gladly accepted BYD’s invitation to help unveil the e6 because it is an independent brand as well as a clean energy vehicle,” Chen Bin told CBU/CAR over the telephone. “Also BYD has a unique technical approach in its development of electric vehicles,” Chen added, alluding to BYD’s efforts in first trying to bring out what it calls a “dual mode” or plug-in hybrid before moving onto an all-electric vehicle.
Asked whether the government would provide infrastructural support for BYD’s efforts in developing and commercializing electric vehicles, Chen Bin replied, “The government will no doubt help create the necessary conditions for electric vehicles to flourish but first and foremost an auto manufacturer has to come up with good and viable products. To begin with, relevant infrastructural development by the government will be small-scale and localized.”
BYD Auto is a subsidiary of BYD Holding Co., Ltd., which is listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Based in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province in southern China, BYD entered into the mobile phone battery business in 1995 with less than 30 people and grew into the world’s second largest rechargeable battery producer within a few years.
BYD Auto was founded in 2003 through the purchase of the bankrupt State-owned Qinchuan Automobile with the clear purpose of moving into the development of electric vehicles. In less than three years BYD successfully launched its F3 compact sedan in September 2005, which was able to reach sales of 100,000 units in no time.
Earlier this year, BYD exhibited its F6DM, or dual mode F6 at the North American International Auto Show and the Geneva International Auto Show.
The F6DM is a plug-in vehicle which is powered by a Fe battery and a regular gasoline engine, which makes it an EV+HEV. Wang believes that the dual mode will replace the conventional hybrid systems of today and become the most popular driving system in the world before the EV becomes commercialized.
The e6 will be priced at around ¥200,000 ($28,571), Wang Chuanfu said at an international conference on April 18 organized by CBU, publisher of CBU-Auto and China Automotive Review. The F6DM, which is expected to be launched later this year, will cost around ¥150,000.
The fact that key NDRC officials were for the first time present at a launch during an auto show signals that the government would lend strong support to independent battery and car manufacturer BYD in its efforts to commercialize electric cars in China. BYD reportedly has been in talks with the National Grid on building charging stations.
If BYD’s dual mode and all-electric vehicles are successfully commercialized in the near future, it could very well become a revolutionary event in the 100 years’ history of the automobile. And thus private entrepreneur Wang Chuanfu has recently started clarifying that his company name stands for “Build Your Dreams,” and not “Bring You Dollars.”