BYD e6

BYD e6

Chinese automaker and battery specialist BYD is accelerating plans to bring its first electric vehicles to the U.S. market, announcing plans for a new headquarters in Los Angeles and claiming that its E6 model already meets all local regulations and standards. However, before you get all excited about getting your hands on a low-cost EV there might be some significant wait times until the first cars arrive in showrooms--unless you happen to live in downtown Los Angeles.

The BYD E6 EV has just gone on sale in China to government fleets and the same could happen here. BYD's North America operations chief, Fred Ni, has revealed to Automotive News that the company’s first models may not be sold to individuals immediately. Instead, they will likely be sold initially to government agencies exclusively.

The mid-size crossover is expected to have a pricetag of around $40,000 in the U.S., which is reasonable given its claimed range of 185 miles and lithium-ion batteries.

If the venture proves successful, BYD plans to follow the E6 with a new hybrid model based on the F3DM mid-sized sedan currently sold in China. There are also plans for a compact car and a plug-in hybrid after that. Oh, and if all this sounds like pie-in-the-sky, just remember that one of the world’s most successful investors, Warren Buffett, is backing the project.

[Automotive News, sub req’d]