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BYD adjusts approach to EV commercializatio

SHENZHEN – BYD will prioritize the commercialization of electric buses and taxis in the near future, according to company founder and chairman Wang Chuanfu.

This represents an adjustment of the development strategy for the Hong Kong-listed battery and car manufacturer, which is the world’s first carmaker that launched a plug-in hybrid car, the F3DM, at the end of 2008 and a pure electric car, the e6, this year.

Wang’s statement, which was made in a presentation at the 25th World Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Symposium and Exhibition (EVS25) held in Shenzhen, echoes with China’s roadmap in firstly commercializing low-speed electric vehicles and electric buses and taxis before popularizing high-way ready EVs for individual mobility.

Earlier in May, BYD invested in a taxi company in Shenzhen with a fleet of 50 e6s operating in two shifts daily. According to Wang, cumulative operating distance of the 50 e6 taxis has reached 1 million kilometers and one of them has traveled over 40,000 kilometers. “The taxis have been running smoothly and experienced no major breakdowns,” said Wang.

The e6 taxi has a range of 300 kilometers and can be fast charged in 40 minutes, according to Wang. “The e6 taxi consumes 25 kWh of electricity per 100 kilometers,” Wang said, “and the daily operating cost is only ¥15 ($2.27) at a rate of ¥0.60 per kWh. This means a saving of ¥71,000 per year compared with a conventional gasoline taxi.”

BYD exhibited an independently designed city bus, the K9, at EVS25, with a drive range of 250 kilometers on city roads and can be fully charged in three hours. The bus will be manufactured at BYD’s facility in Changsha and launched next year in both Changsha and Shenzhen.  

“The K9 pure electric bus consumes 120 kWh of electricity per day at a cost of ¥0.60 per kWh,” Wang told the plenary session of EVS25. “This means an operating cost of ¥72 per day. A conventional bus consumes an average of 40 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers. The cost would be ¥6.25 per liter or ¥250 per day. By using an electric bus, annual savings can be as high as ¥157,000 based on an average daily drive of 250 km.”

Asked about future sales of the plug-in F3DM and e6 to individual consumers, Wang told CBU/CAR that “Monthly sales of the BYD F3DM have exceeded 100 units during the past months, and we hope the figure can rise to 1,000 units next year when we make it available to consumers in other cities. For the e6, our target is taxi fleets this year but next year we will be selling the e6 to individual consumers.”

“Our hope is to first realize electrification in the public bus market,” Wang said. “Therefore we will launch our electric buses in large volume next year. We are happy that BYD has provided demonstration model for the commercialization of electric vehicles and we would like to work with other EV manufacturers to realize our long-term goal of ending human dependence on oil resolving the problem of urban pollution.”

The Shenzhen-based battery and auto maker has also forayed into solar energy development. “Compared with 2008, BYD will be able to reduce the cost of solar power by 10 percent in 2011,” said Stella Li, BYD’s senior vice president. “In 8-10 years, the cost of solar electricity will be the same as that generated by coal,” Li predicted.

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