More Mixed Messages From BYD, Claims E6 is U.S. Safety Ready

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BYD e6

BYD e6

Chinese battery firm and electric car company Build Your Dreams (BYD) have claimed their E6 all electric crossover SUV is ready for the U.S. market.  Following tightly behind an announcement at the start of May that BYD were opening a U.S. sales headquarters in Los Angeles, BYD public relation manager Du Guozhong has claimed the E6 has passed all necessary safety tests required to enable it to be sold in the U.S. market.

According to a report by Chinese website People's Daily Online, BYD are aiming to sell the five seat EV for around $40,000 and have conduced thorough safety testing on both batteries and car to enable it to be legally sold in the U.S.

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett

Backed by American businessman Warren Buffet, BYD have big ambitions on the number of vehicles they will sell. But in China the company have struggled in the past to achieve their ambitious sales estimates. In the eight months to September 2009, BYD sold less than 100 of the F3DM sedan, which uses a range extending engine similar to that used in the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. It had hoped to sell several thousands in that period.

While BYD have hopes to be the world's largest automaker by 2025 and have recently signed a deals to work alongside both Daimler AG and Volkswagen to produce electric cars for the Chinese market, the messages from company executives concerning the planned production of their electric vehicle have been mixed.

In March 2010 Bloomberg reported that BYD were planning to scale back their production plans for the E6, deciding instead to produce 100 E6s to be used as taxis in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, where BYD are based.

2010 Detroit Auto Show

2010 Detroit Auto Show

BYD have previously set and missed their own deadlines for the introduction of the E6 into the U.S. market. Combine this with BYD's admissions that it likes to copy what other companies are doing rather than innovate for itself BYD's claimed position could seem suspect.

According to Chinese car news site, the E6, which shares a similar styling to the 2011 Ford Edge, has a claimed range of 185 miles and a top speed of 86 mph. While the range is more than impressive when compared to other electric cars reaching the market this year, the E6's top speed is a little close to freeway speed limits for comfort. Other sources cite the top speed and range closer to 140 miles per hour and 250 miles per charge.

While the E6 is an impressive sounding vehicle, BYD have yet to offer many test drives to either the public or auto journalists. Until that happens, many will remain skeptical about BYD's latest announcement, given their past track record.

[People's Daily Online]

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