BYD To California: You Don't Have Enough Electric Car Charging Stations

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BYD e6 at 2011 Geneva Motor Show, photo by Robert Llewellyn

BYD e6 at 2011 Geneva Motor Show, photo by Robert Llewellyn

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Over the years, we’ve heard lots of excuses from electric car companies as to why they’ve had to delay the launch of a car.

Ranging from delays in the part supply through to last-minute improvements and modifications to comply with new regulations, we think we’ve heard them all, but insinuating one of the most electric-car friendly states in the U.S. isn’t ready for electric cars? That’s new. 

At least, that’s the implication being made by Chinese automaker and battery supplier BYD after it yet again delayed the launch of its e6 electric car. In an interview with Bloomberg, the Berkshire Hathaway Inc.- backed company [NYSE:BRK/A] blamed the limited availability of public charging stations meant it had to delay the start of sales of its e6 electric car. 

The state in question? California. 

BYD e6 concept

BYD e6 concept

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For those taking notes, that’s the same California that is home to multiple electric car companies, has a higher number of electric cars than any other state, and until recently offered a generous $5,000 rebate (now $2,500) for every resident purchasing an eligible plug-in car. 

To be fair, BYD hasn’t cited California directly. But yesterday BYD opened its first office -- a year behind schedule -- in Los Angeles. It also has plans to open two showrooms in California, where it will sell everything from its own batteries and solar panels through to LED lighting. 

As for the all-electric e6 car? It will be placed alongside BYD’s other products in its showrooms, but without official EPA ratings or crash-test ratings, it can’t be sold to members of the public yet. 

For now then, BYD is focusing on other things, namely selling its $500,000 plug-in busses to cities in the area, including Los Angeles. 

A lack of charging infrastructure? We think it’s a convenient excuse. 


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Comments (5)
  1. As excuses go they could have gone with "okay, so we don't really have any revolutionary battery tech and we haven't really got a clue how to do a proper mass produced EV, but that didn't stop us from making wild claims anyway because our company is all about abusive business practices aimed at short term profit" . Or you could just blame lack of charging infrastructure of course...

  2. Another bomb dropped on the EV movement; there have been many and usually by groups or companies with a ICE/Oil profit based agenda.
    However, this is a real problem because California, unlike Oregon, doesn't appear to have a workable plan. I would like to suggest the state think on two fronts: what is the requirements for long distance charging of plug-ins and what are the short term needs; I think at this early stage that the level two EVSEs should be public chargers and the level threes should be considered for pay. Also, where you have a level three, you should also have a level two and a level one outlet; all current chargers should be changed to J1772.

    A good start would be I80 from Sacramento to the Oregon line.

  3. This "bomb"is a dud. Though eventually a dense network of level 3 chargers will be necessary to make electric motoring mainstream for now mainly home charging will do for adoption on the limited scale that goes with current battery tech/price. BYD could grasp a piece of that still limited market if they had something serious on offer. They don't and blaming the alleged lack of infrastructure is just to divert from the fact that their EV program was largely bluff to attract investment of the likes of Warren Buffett and boost stock value. Basically a stock scam.

  4. i agree we dont have enough public charging and i fail to see why the country has not seen the benefit of starting the build out ASAP. if they were to contribute 100 Billion a year to the project, we would have 80% of the population covered in 2 years. sounds expensive?? i think not. its still 75% off sale when compared to our annual foreign oil bill. and remember, we only have to pay it for 2-3 years...

  5. Chevy Volt owners are not scrambling for charging stations. The EREV design just plain works.

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