Chinese automaker BYD is touting the successes of its full-electric and range-extended electric vehicles both in China and, believe it or not, in the U.S. The company’s vehicles include all-electric taxis and buses.
In Shenzhen, China, a fleet of 50 BYD e6 electric crossovers has just completed its first year of service in the Pengcheng Electric Taxi Company. The cars have collectively covered 1.7 million miles since April 2010, and BYD claims using the electric e6 has prevented 2.4 million pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions. The cars use a rapid charging system that fills the batteries in less than half an hour. Another 250 e6 taxis are going into service this August. They have a top speed of 88 mph and a range of up to 160 miles per charge.
The company also launched a fleet of all-electric buses, the eBUS-12, in Shenzhen and Changsha in January. The buses can be fully charged in three hours, and have so far covered a combined 28,802 miles without using a drop of gasoline or diesel fuel. Shenzhen will take delivery of another 300 eBUS-12s in August. BYD says their test fleets haven’t seen any degradation in battery capacity despite several months of heavy use and rapid charging. Moreover, each eBUS-12 in the Shenzhen fleet reportedly saves $2833 in fuel costs each month.
As we reported earlier, BYD has established offices in Los Angeles, California, as well as a nearby service operation. The company has given the Housing Authority of Los Angeles a test fleet of its F3DM plug-in hybrid cars — which look astonishingly similar to the Toyota Corolla. Each car can travel around 40 miles on electricity alone, after which a gasoline engine kicks in to provide an additional 300 miles of range. It’s essentially the Chinese answer to the Chevrolet Volt. BYD says the e6 returns 88 mpg and is 70 percent cheaper to run than a comparable gasoline car, even factoring in the cost of electricity to charge it.
BYD claims it will launch production vehicles in the U.S. by late 2011 or early 2012, probably beginning with either the F3DM or e6.