I never expected the world's first mass produced, plug-in hybrid car to pop up for sale in China, mecca of e-waste and air pollution. But BYD Auto did just that with the F3DM.
According to the Grist, the F3 Dual Mode began selling this week with a $US22,000 price tag, aimed initially at the Chinese government agencies and other corporate entities. The hybrid plugs into any normal wall outlet, and has a range of 100km on a full charge. According to the New York Times, it charges fully in 7 hours, and at special stations, can be charged halfway in 10 minutes. Keeping in the spirit of a hybrid, it also has a 1.0 litre gas engine that is used to recharge the batteries when a power outlet isn't nearby.
While numerous other car makers have announced plans to sell a plug-in hybrid, none have actually brought one to market, with the nearest release date not until 2010. Worth noting is that BYD started in 1995 manufacturing mobile phone batteries until they acquired a bankrupt auto company in 2003. Now they have Warren Buffet as a 10% shareholder in the company. [Grist via NYT]