BYD made a name for itself through developing two EV models: the F3DM plug-in hybrid and the e6 all-electric sedan. But in the past two years or so since their introductions, the two cars seem to have served primarily to pump up BYD’s share price–for a while–rather than help with actual sales, and the plan for mass production, postponed several times, remains elusive. (see our report Keep Dangling the Carrot: BYD Postpones General Release of the All-Electric e6 Yet Again)
Data from China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) show that the company sold only 33 units of e6 and 417 of F3DM last year. Almost all of the 33 e6 went to a company directly affiliated with BYD to run as taxicabs in Shenzhen, where BYD is based, while general release was re-scheduled to the second half of 2011.
Officially released in Dec, 2008, F3DM remains a rarity on the road. Consumers have shown a low interest in buying the car, partly because its price nearly doubles that of the conventional F3. And BYD has been unwilling, or unable, to mass produce it. Recently, the company, a major battery-maker in the world, claimed that its battery production could not keep up with the sales of F3DM, which many find puzzling.
In the coming two years, BYD reportedly sets a target of selling a combined total of 20,000 units of e6 and F3DM. This means that as one of "the most innovative companies" in the world, as called by Business Week, BYD will continue to depend on copycat cars (F3, F6, S6, M6, etc) for sales (see our reports: Warren Buffett Becomes Pitchman for BYD’s Latest Copycat Car,
Upcoming Releases: S6, Another Copycar from BYD?)