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December 13, 2008 11:13 AM   Subscribe

BYD AUTO is launching the F3DM: China's first mass-produced plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

BYD uses iron-phosphate-based lithium-ion batteries for the F3DM. BYD has said those batteries are "inherently safe" because they are more chemically stable, although they compromise to some extent on the ability to pack energy in each cell, compared with more conventional lithium-ion batteries.

The company's parent is currently the world's largest producer of cellphone batteries. BYD says the car will have a 68 miles (109 km) all-electric range with an auxiliary engine to allow operation in the hybrid mode.
posted by chuckdarwin (20 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
BYD is the company that Warren Buffet invested in earlier this year, I think.
posted by delmoi at 12:05 PM on December 13, 2008


Yeah, here is their ticker symbol.
posted by delmoi at 12:07 PM on December 13, 2008


And in September there was a remarkable endorsement of BYD when even as global stock markets were plunging, the canniest American investor of them all, Warren Buffet of Omaha, Nebraska, paid $230m (£155m) for a 10% stake in the Chinese company.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:10 PM on December 13, 2008


I invested in some Chinese auto stock earlier this year. Yeah, I took a hit -- but not as bad as other stocks I had (Oy!). And it's rebounding quite nicely.
posted by RavinDave at 1:27 PM on December 13, 2008


I vote we bring in the Chinese to run Detroit.
posted by Xezlec at 1:37 PM on December 13, 2008


Let's see, the workers live in dormitories. Based on the dorm-dwellers I know in China, this means that they're paid very little, live in rather basic accommodations, are not married, and almost never leave the plant. Still sound like a strategy we'd want to use here?
posted by 1adam12 at 4:30 PM on December 13, 2008


I believe VW is looking into the same iron phosphate tech to use in their future hybrid cars also (the twin drive system) and they invested heavily in that battery tech. Now only if they could find a way to clean diesel emissions without using post injection spray, which makes the engine dilute it's own oil with biodiesel.

As for assembling these in detroit: I think the facilities should be turned over to a general assembly line process. Let Honda, Toyota, Nissan, BYDAUTO, VW use it to employ the 95% of the current workforce there, assembling the cars they design, and let the managers, ad folks, and other big three corporate types find employment elsewhere. I mean, Honda loves it's Ohio plant.

I wonder just how well the F3DM would do in a car crash.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:56 PM on December 13, 2008


For a comparison, here is a Prius crash video. Notice how the entire driver side door frame stays pretty much in one piece, vs the above offset test. Can't find any footage yet of the F3DM, but other chinese made / designed vehicle crash tests all show a similar trend of little or no reinforced frame or crumple zones to isolate impact from the passenger cage.
posted by mrzarquon at 5:02 PM on December 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


1adam12 writes "Let's see, the workers live in dormitories. Based on the dorm-dwellers I know in China, this means that they're paid very little, live in rather basic accommodations, are not married, and almost never leave the plant. Still sound like a strategy we'd want to use here?"

That'd be an interesting debate some places. Like say Flint Michigan.
posted by Mitheral at 5:05 PM on December 13, 2008


Why haven't all hybrids been plug-in capable? Once you have a battery in there, doesn't it seem simple and obvious to provide further means of charging it?
posted by kaspen at 6:18 PM on December 13, 2008


Kaspen - Toyota said that it didn't want to confuse consumers. I could see the execs being worried that people who didn't have electric outlets available near their parking spots might be scared away from the Prius, even if the plug-in feature was optional.

But of course they'll be delivering plug-ins at the same time or before the Volt is released, so they'll give the market whatever it wants.
posted by exhilaration at 7:11 PM on December 13, 2008


And presumably the electricity will come from all those filthy coal-powered power stations.
posted by awfurby at 7:36 PM on December 13, 2008


Well not if you're running on hydro or nuclear as some of us are. And emissions aside, shouldn't the essential factor be the direct cost to the consumer? I can barely grant Toyota's claims of customer "confusion" as potentially valid, but if what it comes down to is being able to choose between paying to fill the car with gas and just plugging it in and filling it for what amounts to free, it just seems kind of insane to me that no one thought to include a plug previously. People are increasingly saying they are concerned with emissions, but its the immediate financial burden of fueling up that is always going to come first. Outside of conspiracy theorizing, I find it difficult to believe manufacturers would fail to appreciate the marketability of a car you don't need to buy gas for.
posted by kaspen at 8:16 PM on December 13, 2008


the reason for the non plug in prius is battery life. I don't know the exact numbers for the prius, but the battery will only vary within 40-80% state of charge. charging the battery fully and depleting it fully effect the battery life significantly. the prius battery pack is already only 1.3kWh and your only using a fraction of that, so charging up the leftover fraction of the 'small battery' just doesn't make sense for the overhead charging electronics you would have to add to the car. not to mention the confusion argument above where people will erroneously think that they have to plug it in.
posted by TheJoven at 8:53 PM on December 13, 2008


just plugging it in and filling it for what amounts to free

What if you could power a city for $100?
posted by snofoam at 9:04 PM on December 13, 2008


Consumer confusion is something the auto industry tries very hard to minimize. The Bluetec urea additive use for NOx emission control in the new TDi's had to be designed so that the fluid change cycle would fall easily within the same timeframe as the oil change, so to ensure that it was a one stop operation for the owner.

For every owner out there that knows that, there are 4 who only know to bring their car in to get serviced at the place they bought when the date on the sticker in their window tells them to.

And a plug in hybrid in China may only be marginally cleaner, since they have zero emission controls on all their coal plants.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:12 AM on December 14, 2008



And presumably the electricity will come from all those filthy coal-powered power stations.


Rather than motive power from a jillion two-strokes? It's a step up.
posted by pompomtom at 2:18 AM on December 14, 2008


I'm waiting a year to see what customers say. If this car is everything they promise, I'm buying one.
posted by saysthis at 3:34 AM on December 14, 2008


It is a step up, because it's a move in the direction of adding large-scale distributed energy storage to the grid. The more of this there is, the closer we can get to having aggregate generation capacity sized for average rather than peak load, which will considerably increase efficiency and reduce emissions. It also makes the somewhat peaky, unpredictable nature of wind generators less of an issue.
posted by flabdablet at 4:59 AM on December 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


a 68 miles (109 km) all-electric range with an auxiliary engine to allow operation in the hybrid mode.

We have a bingo. Where do I send my check?
posted by DU at 7:53 AM on December 15, 2008


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