Chinese automaker BYD was the world's largest producer of plug-in electric cars last year, and the outlook for new markets in its home country are quite healthy, suggesting strong continued growth.

BYD plans to tackle the country's inland cities, viewed as a new frontier for automakers, with a small and very affordable electric car.

The industry considers China's non-coastal cities, which aren't nearly as saturated with cars as the coastal markets, to be ripe for new vehicle sales.

DON'T MISS: China's BYD built more plug-in cars than any other maker last year

Chairman of BYD Wang Chuanfu believes mini electric vehicles could eventually account for 75 percent of its sales in China.

Affordability will help enormously: BYD says its first mini electric car could be priced under $10,000 after subsidies are applied, according to Caixing.

To put matters into perspective, the new cities in which BYD seeks to sell aren't small, even if they rank lower in priority at the moment.

2016 BYD Tang plug-in hybrid SUV, made in China

2016 BYD Tang plug-in hybrid SUV, made in China

China has more than 100 cities with a population of 1 million people or more—so it's easy to see why BYD is so optimistic about its future growth.

BYD isn't alone in recognizing the coming need for affordable, small electric cars.

Nissan is said to be readying its own mini electric vehicle for 2020, and Renault-Nissan has described such a vehicle as essential to boosting sales in China and other emerging markets.

READ THIS: More details emerge on low-cost electric car from Renault-Nissan for 2020

The Renault-Nissan alliance has most recently partnered with Dongfeng Motors to build mini-SUV electric vehicles. 

But, Nissan is only the most recent to realize it must move quickly to meet aggressive Chinese quotas for electric vehicles.

Volkswagen, Daimler, General Motors, and Ford have all explored or cemented their own joint ventures to build additional electric cars in the world's largest market for automobiles.

BYD Qin EV300

BYD Qin EV300

As BYD starts to focus on outlying Chinese markets, it's begun to get serious about the U.S. market as well.

The Chinese automaker has long focused on public-sector vehicles, but it plans to begin building commercial electric vehicles for private use as well.

CHECK OUT: Chinese maker BYD plans U.S. expansion into other electric industrial vehicles

The electric trucks and other commercial vehicles will be built at its production facility in Lancaster, California; orders have already been placed by such companies as Facebook, along with local California universities.

Its assault on the United States' highly-competitive private car market, however, remains far from ready.

[hat tip: Michael Dunne, of Dunne Automotive consultants in Hong Kong]


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