SHENZHEN -- The first mass-produced plug-in hybrid car in the world, manufactured by Chinese auto maker BYD, went on sale on Monday in the southern city of Shenzhen.
BYD F3DM plug-in Hybrid car from China was displayed on Geneva Motor Show 2008. The first mass-produced plug-in hybrid car in the world, manufactured by Chinese auto maker BYD, went on sale on Monday in the southern city of Shenzhen. [Agencies]
"The F3DM is the world's first hybrid car that is not reliant on specialized electric charging stations. It is the cutting-edge product to the global green auto industry," said president of BYD Wang Chuanfu of the the new car.
The car can run up to 100 kilometers on its electric engine and shift to a gasoline engine when it runs low on power. It has beaten hybrid cars by Toyota and General Motors that could run just 25 km before recharging.
The car's battery can be charged in nine hours from a regular electrical outlet or within an hour at BYD's charging stations. The battery can be recharged up to 4,000 times.
The new model's retail price was less than 150,000 yuan (about 21,428 US dollars), about the same as many home-made mid-sized sedans.
It was welcomed by governments and state-owned banks. The city government of Shenzhen and China Construction Bank have pledged to buy some of the cars in support of the project. The provincial government of Guangdong also said it would "help accelerate promoting BYD's hybrid car project".
Analysts said the new car would need more government support to keep its feet in the market because its price was much higher than the company's current F3 mid-sized sedan, on which the new vehicle was based.
Zhang Xin, an auto analyst with Shanghai-based Guotai Junan Securities, said BYD had chosen the right way to gain a leading position in the global market, but it would take some time before consumers accepted the new car.
BYD is a private company based in Shenzhen. It started out as a battery maker and now is the world's No. 1 supplier of Nickel-battery, cellphone used Li-battery and keypad. In 2003, the company bought Tsinchuan Automobile Company Limited to begin its auto business.
US investor Warren E. Buffett has a 9.89 percent stake in the Hong Kong listed company.