BYD: Only 1,000 E6s for 2010

byd e6 taxi

With the start of the electric car subsidy program on June 1, many expected BYD to begin releasing the much-talked-about e6 all-electric car to the general public later this year. A spokesman for the Shenzhen-based company, however, adamantly denied any such plan today, stressing that only 1,000 units of e6 will be built this year as previously arranged.

The government’s program pays an EV maker up to 50,000 yuan for selling an plug-in hybrid car, and up to 60,000 yuan for an all-electric model. Within these limits, the sum is to be specified in reference to the capacity of the batteries from which the car draws driving power–3,000 yuan per kWh. Since the e6 is powered by large-capacity battery packs, 48 kWh in total, it will get the maximum sum of 60,000 yuan, a generous amount, which, however, appears small before its estimated retail price of 300,000 yuan.

The e6 has been deemed the secret weapon of BYD, showcased at various auto shows, and test-driven once by Warren Buffett. Claiming to have the longest range of all current e-cars, at 330 km, it runs on LiFePO4 battery packs weighing about 500 kg. So far BYD has been ambiguous on the exact date when the e-car will come to the showrooms; for a couple of times, it even revised the information of some key specifications, making some suspect that the e6 is more hype than real.

Finally last month, 40 e6s were delivered to be used as Taxis in Shenzhen. Yet, as the company that employed these cars is a subsidiary of BYD and operates in the city where BYD is based, many remain skeptical.

While previously citing lack of subsidies as the main reason for release delays, the spokesman now says that high price is only one obstacles among many, which also include things like the company’s current production capacity limitation and inadequate EV infrastructure.

(The Picture: E6s as Taxis)