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BYD Plans Electric Supercar, More Powerful Plug-In Hybrid

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BYD Qin plug-in hybrid sedan, unveiled at Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, April 2012

BYD Qin plug-in hybrid sedan, unveiled at Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, April 2012

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BYD Auto hasn't been in the news much lately, but the largest privately-owned Chinese carmaker hasn't backed away from its ambitious plans.

According to China Car Times, BYD will launch a new plug-in hybrid model next year, to be called the Tang, to be followed by an electric supercar.

Both vehicles will use BYD's lithium-iron-phosphate battery cells.

Qin seen last year

BYD has already shown a concept for its next plug-in hybrid model--to be called the Qin--and that model is expected to enter production between October and December this year. 

MORE: First Drive Of Chinese BYD e6 Crossover

The Qin uses a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a 110-kilowatt (148-horsepower) electric motor, for a total output of 300 hp (223 kW) and 325 pound-feet (440 Newton-meters) of torque.

That car's 10-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack provides a 30-mile (50-km) all-electric range.

Chinese battery electric crossover: BYD e6 test drive, Los Angeles, May 2012

Chinese battery electric crossover: BYD e6 test drive, Los Angeles, May 2012

Enlarge Photo

The new hybrid system to be called Tang will replace the Qin's 1.5-liter turbo with a more powerful 2.0-liter turbo four.

The result will be a predicted acceleration of 0 to 62 mph in just 4.9 seconds for vehicles fitted with the updated hybrid powertrain.

S7 crossover, then E9 supercar?

China Car Times suggests that the new and more powerful hybrid system may be installed first in the company's S7 sport-utility vehicle, and will launch sometime next year.

Then there are plans for a battery-electric vehicle to be known as the E9.

While BYD has been "extremely tight-lipped" about the E9, company officials told reporters it will be an all-electric supercar with a performance goal of 0 to 62 mph in only 3.9 seconds.

The Tesla Roadster Sport, now out of production, achieved the same goal in 3.7 seconds.

Unusual PR event

According to reporter Ash Sutcliffe, the information about BYD's future product plans came in a venue very different from the common Chinese practice of carefully scripted public-relations events.

BYD e6 electric taxi in service in Shenzhen, China

BYD e6 electric taxi in service in Shenzhen, China

Enlarge Photo

"Basically, it was a rolled-up sleeves event where journalists were shown future tech in a relaxed environment," Sutcliffe told Green Car Reports.

More remarkable, the assembled journalists were "allowed to ask any questions they wanted."

With a 10-percent stake owned by fabled investor Warren Buffet, BYD attracted a lot of attention with plans to sell its E6 all-electric crossover in the U.S.

Many deadlines were announced, and missed, and in May, BYD said the E6 electric car would not be sold to consumers in the U.S.

More recently the company has focused on electric buses, which will go into service in the California cities of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

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