China Upstart's Electric Car Plugs Into West

Battery expertise puts BYD 'at same starting line' with Detroit
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2009 3:09 PM CST
Under the hood of a BYD e6 at the North American International Auto Show today in Detroit.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – BYD, a Chinese company known mostly as a cell-phone battery manufacturer, plans to enter the Western auto market with an electric car that could short-circuit entries from Detroit’s Big Three and others, the Wall Street Journal reports. BYD hopes the relative engineering simplicity of an all-electric design will grant a leveled playing field against giants like General Motors and Toyota.

BYD’s model, called the F3DM, is powered entirely by battery and can be charged with a wall outlet. BYD’s ample supply of cheap labor and research will enable it to price the car at around $22,000—almost half of what GM will ask for its electric Volt. Concerns remain, however, regarding battery safety.