BYD e6: Chinese Electric Car Hits Detroit Auto Show

15 01 2009

We’re knee deep inside a muddy recession and this is not new thing. One among the protagonist of this world wide “event”, the car industry is facing critics for harassing the governments to save their day. In the U.S. this is mostly true because the (in)famous bail out to GM. In the EU instead, the European Commission made it clear that aids to European car companies could be designed only in the scope of projects (cars) exploiting new clean non-oil-dependant energy.

e001lThey also say that this year’s Detroit Auto show isn’t that brilliant and several important auto brands are missing (Ferrari, Fiat, Renault, Peugeut, Opel, etc..). They also say that this year’s price are cheaper and so is a stronger presence of far east companies.

One Chinese company in particular caught attention because of the car they presented and the claims they issued. BYD (which stands for Build Your Dream) it’s a Chinese company which, despite most of us has never heard of it, lists the gigantic score of 7 production sites in China, 10 million square miles of show rooms and offices worldwide and 130 thousands employees.

BYD presented their revolutionary e6 electric car which they claim can run up to 250 miles per charge. This puts e6 a the top of electric cars performance board (should ever exist one :)) leaving behind Ford’s long range electric car -scheduled for 2011- of a full 150 miles. The e6 battery pack -which surprisingly is a some sort of old fashioned Fe type- is declared to be capable to be charged up of 50% in ten minutes (by a fast-charge station) allowing a 120 miles travel.

Battery are surely the core aspect of electric car which, thought as the major pro by some -because of the green side- can also be a big drawback or, more metaphorically said, smoke and mirrors. Sceptics argue that the energy used to produce the battery, plus the energy regularly used to charge up the battery plus the one that will be eventually used to dispose of the battery and its elements made the system energy inefficient and not worth of the big green badge lots of people and the media give to electric cars. Not being particularly in love with electric devices, I could argue that having around so many oil fuel powered cars is in its way energy inefficient as it pollutes directly urban areas and basically make people sick (so maybe medical reckonings should be included in the evaluation balance).

i001bAnyway, staying on track, this e6 it’s still a concept car, thus not a guarantee of a scheduled production. Maybe it’s just evanescent as many other concept cars, maybe it’s a big scream to draw attention on another aggressive Chinese competitor, but in any case it’s another proof of how alternative energy vehicles (methane, and liquefied petroleum gas first in the row) are taking more and more market share. Not speaking of electrics, I forecast that in ten years the balance we see today between oil-fuel cars and gas cars will be reversed.

What is your opinion on this subject?

If you’re interested in checking BYD e6 website you can find it here.

Pictures are from BYD gallery pack