Update December 2008: GM is Weeping: BYD F3DM Plug-in Hybrid Goes On Sale in China, 3 Years Before Volt
There's a lot of excitement about what might be the first plug-in hybrid car on the market, BYD's F6DM. With an all-electric range of 62 miles (100 km) before the small gas engine kicks in, it could mean almost zero gasoline use for most people who drive less than that on a normal day, and the innovative ferrous batteries are said to be safe and recyclable.
Until now, all we knew was that BYD planned to release the F6DM on the Chinese market in the second half of 2008, with an all-electric F6E version coming in 2009, but no word on other markets. Now we learn that BYD president, Wang Chuanfu, wants to release the plug-in hybrid in Europe in 2010 because "savings on running costs [in Europe] are higher than in China because of high European fuel prices" and "the emphasis in Europe is on the environment. So we will first bring our hybrid models to Europe."
We expect the F6DM to be followed by the smaller F3DM plug-in hybrid. Hopefully, demand for plug-ins will keep increasing faster than even BYD expects and North-American introduction will follow quickly.