Apr 13

BYD FD3M, World’s First Mass Produced Electric Car, Not Catching on in China

 

Many people cite China’s Volt-like BYD electric car, the F3DM, as a threat to the Volt and other US-made electric cars. Particularly because the company makes its own proprietary LiFePO4 battery and can currently sell the car for a US equivalent of $22,000. Warren Buffett has invested in the company and there exists the potential of eventually selling the car in the US.

The F3DM is a plug-in electric basic sedan with a reported 60 miles of range and a dual hybrid drivetrain capable of operating either in serial or parallel mode after the battery is discharged.

It is being reported that the car is not yet catching on in China where it is being built and sold. Reportedly since launch in December 2008 only 80 FD3Ms have been sold, and 20 of those to the Chinese government.

Why is this and what might it tell us if anything about Volt adoption here in the US?

First, the pricetag of $21,980 USD is a lot for most Chinese. The company has a stated goal of bringing this closer to $15,000 when they scale up production. Yet if no one is buying how will they scale up production?  Would this ring true with a $40,000 Volt?

Lack of charging stations, government incentives, and a poor auto market are other cited hurdles. It takes 9 hours to charge the car on household current possibly dissuading some would-be buyers.

Also it turns out the car only gets is announced 60 miles of range if it is driven under 50 km/h (31 mph).

Finally, there may be high rates of battery defects and no clear plan for battery reclaim at end of life.

So while it is true that China isn’t the United States, and the market here will likely be more embracing, the importance of high quality, honest promotion, and extensive testing GM is putting in to the Chevy Volt cannot be understated.

Source (Xinhua)

This entry was posted on Monday, April 13th, 2009 at 6:04 am and is filed under Competitors, Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 125


  1. 1
    Rashiid Amul

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (6:06 am)

    Interesting parallels might be drawn here for our future Volt.
    Overpriced, over promised, under delivered.

    I sincerely hope this does not become a a true event for our beloved Volt.

    BYD: 60 miles at 31 MPH sucks. $21,000 is overpriced for their market. 9 hours to charge seems too high to me. I wonder how much charge can be achieved in a couple of hours?

    With these statistics, I don’t think I would buy the BYD either.


  2. 2
    RB

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (6:09 am)

    Not a good omen for US electric-car sales.
    It seems to indicate a marked lack of consumer interest there, and I see no reason that would be greatly different in the USA, especially if the car looks about the same, performs about the same and seems to differ mostly with a higher price.


  3. 3
    Dan

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (6:20 am)

    I don’t think that comparing the Chinese consumer and the American consumer is an apples to apples comparison. Considering how many were sold, how many were even available? I am not sure if the Chinese are as eco conscious as we are either. What is their demographic? Granted China has 10 times the people that we have here, but how many of them are in a position to even BUY a car at all? 80-90% of the population is still on farmland in the country right? (just a guess here..)


  4. 4
    Inhaling in L.A.

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (6:35 am)

    Battery technology is key. The new LG li-po batteries now available for hobby use have over-charge and over-drain protection built in. A big improvement over last years product. I expect to see a 100 mile range automotive li-po battery being available by 2011. This will easily be extended to 130 miles by 2012.


  5. 5
    Steve K

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (6:45 am)

    Little early to draw conclusions. BYD’s track record as a company (from nothing to leading battery manufacturer in the world in < 10 years) gives some confidence they will resolve technical problems on the battery side. Doesn’t guarantee success, but I think counting them out now is just a tad premature.


  6. 6
    Jim I

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (6:54 am)

    How is the rest of the car, from a build quality, safety, and reliability standpoint? I have not really heard anything about these issues with the BYD.

    If it is junk, then the best batteries and lower prices won’t help it. A POS, no matter how well advertised, is still a POS.

    And China’s reputation in manufacturing quality has not been all that good lately:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090411/ap_on_bi_ge/chinese_drywall


  7. 7
    FME III

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (6:56 am)

    I concur with #3 Dan. There are too many differences between the two markets to draw many firm conclusions.

    #2 RB, I don’t think, from what we read, that in any way we should infer that the car “performs about the same.” To the contrary, being restricted to 31 mph to get the stated milage, seems, to me, to make it clear that the care does not perform about the same.

    And ditto to #1 about the charge time. Not to mention, how many Chinese live in housing that is conducive to charging? Those in the cities who have the kind of jobs that pay enough to afford this car most often live in multi-family buildings with no easy acces to overnight charging.

    But I agree that this serves as an example of how GM does need to gets this car right the first time. The public will not grant it the benefit of the doubt if it fails to live up to our very high expectations.


  8. 8
    BillR

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (7:09 am)

    We in the US have the advantage of a great deal of infrastructure as well as low electric rates. This is a key consideration for the adoption of EV’s.

    So many of us can drive home, put the Volt in the garage, plug it in, and let its software determine the best time to charge overnight for the best rates.

    The following morning, we get in our Volt, which is already warmed/cooled to our desired temperature, back it out of the garage, and have 40 miles of AER. The daily cost ~$1.00.

    However, if you are in another country, live on the 9th floor of a tenament building, have no easy access to electricity, and the electric rates are high, the costs and inconveniences play a factor in making your decision.

    And unlike many people in the US and Europe, other world populations are not overly concerned with air pollution and global warming, so economics and convenience are the driving factors.

    When one then has to look at the potential for premature battery failure or other issues that may rear their ugly heads with the use of new technology, the safe and reasonable approach is to stay with the tried and true ICE driven car.


  9. 9
    Dave B

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (7:13 am)

    Rashiid @ 1 writes, “BYD: 60 miles at 31 MPH sucks”

    ________________

    Ditto. It may as well be a NEV. There is no point in buying an E-REV if you can’t drive it in EV mode.


  10. 10
    Jeff

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (7:21 am)

    I think that the general pubilc (China, US, & everywhere else) tend avoid the “unknown” on major purchases. If you are reading this post, you are not the general public.

    The Volt could be the most reliable, supported product ever produced from any company, but it still takes years to actually prove it. GM’s track record for supporting low volume vehicles are not stellar…why should the Volt be any different?

    A potential buyer must trust GM when just buying an ICE vehicle (cookie cutter)…and take leap of faith on new tech in a mass produced vehicle. Toyota, Ford, and Honda have years of hybrid owners to provide “stop gap” experiences with their vehicles. GM has years of comments from executives that “hybrids are not econmically viable”‘.

    My questions…what will an “almost bankrupt” GM do to overcome these obstacles? How will the dealers of an “almost bankrupt” auto company support a “no profit” vehicle that requires new equipment and extensive training for techs?


  11. 11
    Texas

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (7:23 am)

    Just 31 mph? Sounds like it’s just a plug-in Prius drivetrain. Just remember that the average Chinese makes $1 an hour, the economy is crashing, gas is cheap, they want to be like the rest of the world and drive BMW. Wrap that all up with horrible quality and 80 units sold sounds damn good! ;)


  12. 12
    Herm

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (7:28 am)

    Interesting news about the worlds first mass produced EREV, but the Xinhua article seems a bit short of facts..

    About the only concrete fact they make is that sales are slow DUH!.. then they make some vague statements about the quality control problems of making LiFe cells, but not actually the cells used in the car.. someone at Xinxua is about to get a bullet in the back of the head. I bet Mao is rolling in his grave.

    Perhaps the car will do 40 miles under US Hwy conditions, or maybe 30 miles.. what a lot of people here have been asking for. Perhaps, similar to the Tata Nano, the car has not been designed for US Hwys.

    Maybe its not a good idea to buy a BYD first production year :)

    $15k is amazing. We really could use more tech details by this time.. battery size, architecture, performance etc.

    Please, if you are an electric auto manufacturer, please paint them in something else besides light metallic baby blue or silver.. how about a nice bright metallic red or green?.. and go very easy on the decals.


  13. 13
    k-dawg

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (7:34 am)

    “Also it turns out the car only gets is announced 60 miles of range if it is driven under 50 km/h (31 mph).”

    BINGO!
    no sale


  14. 14
    RB

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (7:35 am)

    #7 FME III says (to me)
    #2 RB, I don’t think, from what we read, that in any way we should infer that the car “performs about the same.” To the contrary, being restricted to 31 mph to get the stated milage, seems, to me, to make it clear that the care does not perform about the same.
    ===========================================

    Perhaps so. I was thinking more about performance in the sense of driving performance rather than distance. The shorter electric-only distance at higher speeds will, as I understand it, be true of all electric cars.

    As FME III and others noted, it also is true that China is a much less developed country than the US if taken as a whole. Even so, many parts of China now have large populations that are high income and are as well connected to the electric grid as most of the USA. Issues of air pollution are public in China and strongly felt. So I think having sold only 80 cars is a notably low number that certainly suggests a lack of interest in making such a purchase on the part of the Chinese consumer.

    At the same time, I agree that there are so many differences in the product and the place that Chinese demand is not equivalent to US demand. (For example, I am not aware of a Chinese Lyle or gm-volt.com) Still, the lack of interest there is not a good sign for here, it seems to me.


  15. 15
    nasaman

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (7:36 am)

    The average wage earner’s income in China in 1996 was reported as $600/year for all workers when I was last there in 1996. This had increased by 2006 to $1,500/yr for urban workers but remained only $460/yr for the vastly-larger number of rural workers.*

    A typical American earning $50k/yr limits his new car purchase price to roughly $25k, or about half of his annual income (my estimate). By comparison, this 2:1 ratio would limit urban Chinese new car buyers to about $750 (and rural buyers to about $230), which puts the $21,980 FD3M completely out of reach for even city residents.

    Because bicycles & scooters are still very widely accepted, I strongly suspect most cars in the $20k price range and upward will continue to be sold to Europeans or Americans living in China but paid on a western wage scale. Most native Chinese will unfortunately be limited to polluting scooters and cheap cars for a long time to come. Even a Tata Nano would be out of reach for most.

    *http://en.ce.cn/Business/Macro-economic/200701/25/t20070125_10208325.shtml


  16. 16
    RB

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (7:43 am)

    #8 BillR says
    However, if you are in another country, live on the 9th floor of a tenament building, have no easy access to electricity, and the electric rates are high, the costs and inconveniences play a factor in making your decision.
    And unlike many people in the US and Europe, other world populations are not overly concerned with air pollution and global warming, so economics and convenience are the driving factors.

    =====================================

    There are now millions of people in China who have high incomes and live as well or better than many of us in the USA. I’m not sure how we compare on being “overly concerned with air pollution” but I’m sure there are as many people in China who are concerned about air pollution as there are in the USA. As Chinese air problems are much worse in major cities (as we saw with the Olympics), people in China are notably more aware of air polluton on a day to day basis.

    So I’m surprised that their sales are so low. I would have thought that sales would have been much higher, 10x or more. Perhaps there are other aspects having to do with availability, presentation or reputation that we do not yet know.


  17. 17
    Herm

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (7:45 am)

    everyone saw the first test drive in the US?.. here is the link:

    http://jalopnik.com/344806/detroit-auto-show-world-exclusive-surreal-illegal-test-drive-of-chinese-hybrid-through-cobo-arena

    if the link gets lost, do a search in the Jalopnik webs site for BYD, very funny article as usual.


  18. 18
    Bintoo

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (7:46 am)

    “the importance of high quality, honest promotion, and extensive testing GM is putting in to the Chevy Volt cannot be understated.”

    This point cannot be overstated enough! People are not going to buy an electric car from anyone who can slam one together. They are going to have huge saftey concerns, what about crash testing, warranty and gadgets. One only has to look at the Apple IPOD or IPhone. One is an MP3 player and the other is a phone similar to a Blackberry. It’s quality, features and marketing that will sell the Volt.


  19. 19
    RB

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (7:49 am)

    #16 Herm –> Thanks for the great link.


  20. 20
    ksuhwail

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:00 am)

    Most of the people who have homes in China live in rural settings and most likely can not afford such a car. The people who can afford it are apartment dwellers in China’s large cities.

    Fortunately, here in the US, a much larger percentage of the population live in homes where charging will not be a problem. The Volt and other cars like it must find a way to make charging easier for apartment dwellers. This is a major disadvantage of plug-ins.


  21. 21
    smurfy

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:04 am)

    #1 Amul:
    9 hours of charge time seems fine to me. Really, think about this. Say you get home for the day at 5 PM. You leave in the morning at 7 AM. That is 12 hours between when you come home from work to when you leave again. On a few days you have errands you would need the range extender.

    Not so bad.


  22. 22
    maharguitar

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:06 am)

    The article is pretty short on details but I think some of you have mis-interpreted them.

    The car only gets is 62mi all electric range if you drive at 31 MPH. That doesn’t mean that the car will only go 31MPH. We don’t know what the range is if you drive at typical speeds. (40 AER?).

    The company has only tried to do fleet sales so the response of the general public is unknown. Fleet managers are very bottom line oriented and usually don’t give a hoot about eco-this or eco-that unless upper management says that the company wants to make a green statement.

    I have no idea if China even has something like our suburbia. Plug in electric or hybrids work best if you have a garage and a plug. Many urban drivers have to park on the street or in garages underneath their apartment building.


  23. 23
    Herm

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:13 am)

    9 hours from a standard 110V outlet sounds suspiciously like about 11kwh of battery capacity.. and that also fits with the claimed range of 60 miles. By the standard GM practice of derating the battery that would be an artificially limited 30 miles range if you wanted to prolong battery life.

    A couple of hours from a standard outlet is around 2.6Kwh capacity or about 13 miles of range.

    The original articles claimed that it would also support at fast charge of 10 minutes, but it was not stated to what percentage of charge.. most likely to 80%.. so working backwards that would require about a 100Kw charger.. 450 amps at 220v so most likely a 3 phase 220 or 440v supply required.

    Previous articles claimed the cost of the electric powertrain was $6000, estimating $330 per kwh for 12kw is $3950, leaving $2050 for the electronics.

    …………………………………………..
    #1 Rashiid Amul Says:
    April 13th, 2009 at 6:06 am

    BYD: 60 miles at 31 MPH sucks. $21,000 is overpriced for their market. 9 hours to charge seems too high to me. I wonder how much charge can be achieved in a couple of hours?


  24. 24
    HyperMiler

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:16 am)

    F3DM is in same state as Honda Clarity is; in alpha testing. Heck, Volt is more tested than F3DM at this point.

    You need to understand that F3DM was a test-release to a few selected party, and not a general releases. Things work a lot differently in China than in the West, where Chinese firms actually sell prototypes to hapless consumers.

    Don’t wait for Chinese to start a cheap electric car revolution; they don’t have the technology to do it, even though they do their best to appear they have.


  25. 25
    HyperMiler

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:19 am)

    #4 Inhaling in L.A. Says:

    > I expect to see a 100 mile range automotive li-po battery being available by 2011.

    None of auto majors are interested in extending range with newer battery tech; they are only interested in getting batteries smaller and cheaper at same range of 40 mile AER or less.


  26. 26
    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:24 am)

    So, it doesn’t get its reported 60 miles AER. How much does it get? 40? For $22k? That is better than 40 mi AER for $40k.


  27. 27
    Herm

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:24 am)

    I suspect electric bicycles and mopeds are going to be more popular over there.. and I’m sure they will bring the bikes up into the apartment at night. I was surprised to see a very nice (and cheap) electric bike at Walmart the other day. I think it was around $350 or so.

    Eventually the authorities will line the streets with charging plugs, they really are worried about the heavy pollution in the large cities. By the time you add infrastructure to sell unleaded gas and sulfur free diesel plus all the car modifications, electric car starts to look pretty in-expensive.

    ………………………..

    #21 maharguitar Says: April 13th, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Plug in electric or hybrids work best if you have a garage and a plug. Many urban drivers have to park on the street or in garages underneath their apartment building.


  28. 28
    Guido

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:28 am)

    Folks, For those complaining about the Volts rumored $40M price tag, read a few marketing texts on the strategy of marketing to “early intenders”. “Early intenders” are generally well-healed and enthusiastic, and will typically be happy to pay dearly to obtain technology or products that are near and dear to them – especially when these offerings are very visible to the rest of population, so the “E/I’s” can wear them like badges of conviction. Kind of like front-row concert tickets …. brokers know that a certain segment of the population will pay outrageous prices to get these tickets, not only to see the concert, but BE SEEN at the concert.

    GM would be truly foolish not to take advantage of these Ed Begley/Jay Leno type characters. The bad news is that the rest of us schlubs who cannot afford to race to the front of the line will have to wait until the demand from these E/I’s subsides.

    The good news is that this that this process serves a useful function – these high initial prices serve to help subsidize the ramp-up of production, pay off a disproportionate share of the initial investments, and allow the manufacturer to be cautious in getting his design and process fine-tuned before charging into high volume production. BTW – An Opel Ampera, etc. allows GM to scour the globe for E/I’s, and further leverage their investment in this new technology – makes perfect sense to me. Again, us grunts might have to wait a few years longer to get a Volt, but a lower price tag and higher quality and performance will be our reward.


  29. 29
    Adrian

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:30 am)

    I would worry about their engineering and production quality to frank and honest. I have see enough sub par workmanship from Chinese manufacturing plants due to lack of skilled labor to be wary. Not that this car is the second coming of the Yugo, but probably would be consider low quality for what Americans expect. I also wonder if the frame could survive the crash tests and requirements we have here?


  30. 30
    Benjamin

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:35 am)

    Most of the Chinese people I know live in apartments and do not have access to a plug to charge their car. I don’t think I know of a single Chinese person with a garage. Even in the small town’s, they live in apartments and have no where to plug in. Most take the bus to work anyways.

    If you are Chinese and have enough money to buy only one car, you’re going to get something cheap like the QQ my girlfriend’s sister drives. If you have a lot of money, you’re going to buy a porche/BMW like my investor friend. Battery powered cars just aren’t practical.

    I think the major lifestyle differences (no garages, lots of public transport) between the US and China make comparisons almost impossible.


  31. 31
    Steve K

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:38 am)

    This article (from the NY Times) should give some idea of the seriousness with which the Chinese view the development of electric vehicles.

    China Outlines Plans for Making Electric Cars

    By KEITH BRADSHER
    Published: April 10, 2009
    BEIJING — Senior Chinese officials outlined on Friday how they aimed to turn their country into the world’s largest producer of electric cars, including a focus on consumer choice rather than corporate subsidies.
    ….

    Rest of article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/11/business/energy-environment/11electric.html


  32. 32
    RB

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:43 am)

    #27 Guido says
    “GM would be truly foolish not to take advantage of these Ed Begley/Jay Leno type characters…”
    ====================================

    Yes, and every time I hear about Jay Leno my own interest in a Volt goes down another notch….

    The celebrity focus is making Volt more and more of a niche car. I hope Mr Leno enjoys his car, and his celebrity friends likewise, but I will not be among them. What GM is doing is anti-marketing to a portion of the population with a technical interest in the Volt. Maybe that’s a great idea, maybe not.


  33. 33
    MarkinWI

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:46 am)

    Nasaman@#14 – And therein lies the Gordian knot of modern international trade in general, and the Chinese markets in particular – the U.S. can’t export mass produced products if the masses abroad are paid peanuts. Excellent first hand info Nasaman. It does leave me wondering though – what are total auto sales for China, and what are the average prices?

    As it turns out, “China’s auto sales hit a monthly record of 1.11 million vehicles in March, exceeding U.S. sales for the third month in a row, as tax cuts and rebates for small car purchases lured buyers back into showrooms, according to industry figures.

    The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said sales rose 5 percent in March from a year earlier, when they totaled 1.06 million, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.

    The data confirmed that sales remained robust in China, the world’s second biggest auto market, despite deteriorating conditions in most major markets.”

    There is some controversy here about the dam lies and statistics. Apparently the Chinese numbers include commercial vehicle sales, which are not included in the U.S. numbers. Subtracting the commercial vehicles allegedly would still leave the U.S. market, “far ahead.” China also primed the pump a little by cutting the sales tax on small autos from 10% to 5%. Average prices “entry” prices for sedans were $8K-$16K.

    The Chinese Gov’t is also offering a 10% subsidy to rural farmers who buy vans and small trucks. “Multi-purpose vehicles” are going for the equivalent of $8K to $10K. And, egads, the Chinese actually expect a downpayment of more than 1/3.


  34. 34
    RB

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:48 am)

    #30 Steve K –> Thank you for the informative link.


  35. 35
    RB

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:50 am)

    Off topic — It’s been announced this morning that GE has substantially increased investment in battery maker A123.


  36. 36
    statik

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:53 am)

    Sorry about a bit of a side track, but it is fairly significant:
    —————-

    Report: U.S. directs GM to plan for bankruptcy by June 1

    General Motors Corp. is believed to be preparing to file for bankruptcy by June 1 after being directed to plan for a filing by the U.S. Treasury Department, according to a report Sunday by the New York Times.

    The Times, quoting unidentified sources, said the Treasury Department has directed officials at General Motor’s (NYSE: GM) to lay the groundwork for a “surgical” bankruptcy filing that could last as short as a few weeks for portions of the company

    http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2009/04/13/daily2.html?ana=yfcpc

    (GM is trading off about 20% on the news)

    ———————-
    /ok back to China car, lol


  37. 37
    Tim

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:56 am)

    Highlights: Shai Agassi at A Moment of Transformation, Washington DC, March 12 2008

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zLR8aXRp3E

    I don’t agree with everything Mr. Agassi says, but this video is well worth watching.

    Rome was not built in a day.


  38. 38
    Guido

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:56 am)

    RB Says:
    April 13th, 2009 at 8:43 am
    #27 Guido says
    “GM would be truly foolish not to take advantage of these Ed Begley/Jay Leno type characters…”
    ====================================

    Yes, and every time I hear about Jay Leno my own interest in a Volt goes down another notch….

    The celebrity focus is making Volt more and more of a niche car. I hope Mr Leno enjoys his car, and his celebrity friends likewise, but I will not be among them. What GM is doing is anti-marketing to a portion of the population with a technical interest in the Volt. Maybe that’s a great idea, maybe not.
    ——
    Ultimately, the producer runs out of “E/I’s” and is forced to either bring down the price or his volume dries up. As sobering as it sounds, a lot of people on this board are stoked to get a volt for the same reasons as these E/I’s are – they want to wear it as a badge of their convictions – in a capitalist society, those willing to pay the most get to the head of the line.

    Don’t fault GM – look at almost all new techologies introduced over the past 50 years…… calculators, computers, high definition TV’s – how many of these products have you refused to buy ( once the prices came down ) because some Hollywood high-school dropout got to buy one first ? It’s just sound bidness practice.


  39. 39
    GM-fan

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (9:00 am)

    So, we finally calm down from the electric car boom….

    It is not a fancy product can save you from bankrupty, it’s just a product takes time to make consumers accept it…..

    So, please stop believe GM BS about Volt will save the company….

    Volt is a good concept, but too late….


  40. 40
    NZDavid

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (9:19 am)

    From the actual article:
    Battery quality is also a concern. According to sources, the Fe battery groups usually see high defective rates since it is difficult to ensure all the batteries are produced using the same procedure and the same materials.

    It would appear that the batteries are hand assembled at this point.

    Further the 80 sales are only to two buyers. IE BYD is only selling to fleet buyers at this stage, which makes sense as the average price of a car in China is $11 thousand.

    For comparison the average rice in the US is just under $25 thousand, so the Volt would have to sell at $50 thousand to compare. At 50 thousand I definitely would not be buying a Volt.

    Also power supplies in China are not nearly as reliable as one would hope.


  41. 41
    Harrier 1970

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (9:31 am)

    #38 GM-fan – blow it out your exhasut pipe buddy. If you don’t like it on this site then go someplace else. This vehicle can save this company, the choice is up to GM alone to build a great car.

    Ok… China is not the US and the Chinese consumer is not an American consumer but here are some important points:

    1) Quality. Not that we in the US have been all that great over the decades but we don’t have the poison food, poison toys, or contaminated sheet rock that China has been shipping out on our record. Right now, “made in China” is mud around the United States. Quality and China do not currently go together.

    2) Style. This vehicle is as ugly as any i have ever seen. Thank God it is not the Volt.

    3) Underpowered, and short on range. They have obviously put the cart before the horse to get this car to market. GM has stated all along that it is the battery that is the king. A major battery company should have known that before rushing to build this thing.

    from Iraq


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    k-dawg

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (9:32 am)

    When i was in China in 2007, I saw 2 sides. In the large city of Beijing, there were lots of cars on the expressways, and it was of course metropolitan. However most everyone lived in company “housing” which were giant apartment buildings. When I went to the “smaller” (2 million) city of Xinyang, most everyone was on scooters & bikes. They also lived in company apartments.

    So i have to agree that right now, the demographic in China is not best suited for plug-in cars that are $22K.


  43. 43
    DonC

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (9:33 am)

    Just a couple of points and some observations:

    1. Warren Buffet did not exactly invest in the car. First he didn’t make the investment, one of his companies did, so this is not a Berkshire investment per se. Second, the investment was in the batteries. The car wasn’t the reason the US company invested. In fact when asked they said that the world didn’t need another car company. [Hint: stick to the knitting]

    2. I believe there are great incentives for EVs in China. In fact I think it’s $8K, which is larger than the incentives in the US.

    More generally, this is what should have been expected. China is not the US. To put this in perspective, the EV-1 was not the big deal the Volt is. Times change. Tastes change. IOW the time has to be right to introduce new technology.

    The fact that the car has a lot of problems, both from a product and production standpoint, also should not be surprising. Building cars is very hard. The first cars built by Honda and Toyota were not exactly world class. Ditto for Hyundai. Any new manufacturer will need time to get up to speed. Given this, the product and production failures of this car have no relevance for the Volt. Rest assured the Volt will be an entirely different experience.


  44. 44
    NZDavid

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (9:43 am)

    GmFan@38 says: So, please stop believe GM BS about Volt will save the company….

    I don’t think, for a second, the Volt V1 will save the company. I do think the future of GM is with the Voltec drive train though.

    I also know Toyota would be able to roll out their synergy drive across the fleet fairly rapidly when they need to.

    When the CAFE standards are significantly tightened, hybrid systems will come into their own.

    /hopes for 65 miles in the Volt at a steady 30 mph!

    LJGTVWOTR
    NO plug, NO sale.


  45. 45
    Exp_EngTech

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (9:43 am)

    FYI….

    A new article on BYD and Buffett on CNN / Money

    I like the part where the guy drinks the electrolyte…..

    http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/13/technology/gunther_electric.fortune/index.htm


  46. 46
    ROBERT M. SPERRY

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (9:56 am)

    China is just emerging into the automotive age. In the past, most Chinese have not been able to afford cars and many other modern conveniences. That is why they are not interested in ecological problems yet. And that is why they are not interested in electric cars that have much less range and flexibility than gas cars. Give them 50 yeaars of gas car emissions and they will suddenly become the world’s leader in demanding ecologically compatable cars – like electric.We have already reached that point. GO VOLT!


  47. 47
    Thomas Gilling

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:02 am)

    Well it’s china not the US!


  48. 48
    Sam Gradge

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:04 am)

    Well China is different to the US like Thomas Gilling and Robert Sperry said! It’s like comparing Apple’s to Oranges.


  49. 49
    RB

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:11 am)

    #14 nasaman points out
    A typical American earning $50k/yr limits his new car purchase price to roughly $25k, or about half of his annual income (my estimate). By comparison, this 2:1 ratio would limit urban Chinese new car buyers to about $750 (and rural buyers to about $230), which puts the $21,980 FD3M completely out of reach for even city residents.
    ====================================

    The problem with this line of reasoning is that it is in terms of averages for the whole population, while the post is in terms of absolute numbers. Maybe you should compare the top 10% of the Chinese population to the whole of the US population, as that comparison will have about the same number of people in each group.

    However the comparison is done, there are far more than 80 people in China who have the means to buy an electric car, and the means to charge it, if they want to do so. One might say that the post reports that only 80 out of the 300Million in the top 10% of the Chinese population has elected to buy an electric car.

    I agree with you and many other posters that there are many differences between the USA and China in the vehicle, culture, context, customers and environment. I would not expect strong correlations between sales of Volt and any Chinese car. Even so, the tiny numbers of sales of the BYD car until now in China leads one to the conclusion that there is not a strong interest there, at this time.


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    MuddyRoverRob

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:11 am)

    #31 RB
    I think the issue is just the opposite! It wasn’t all that long ago when if you wanted a reasonably priced not too fancy reliable car you bought a Chevy. The Leno exposure is good because the general public knows Leno as a car guy, if Jay says it’s good then it gives a positive feeling. That is a good thing! We need a couple hundred thousand early adopter types to buy the 1.0 version of the volt to work out the inevitable bugs so the price CAN be $30k Cdn ($25k Usd) for ver 2.0 and the volumes can really spool up.

    #38 GM-fan
    Your posting name is irony without a doubt. Please go drive your Prius elsewhere.


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    NZDavid

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:13 am)

    Exp_EngTech @ 44

    Thanks for the link. Very interesting.

    /You can tell BYD is not a ‘proper’ car company, they made a profit last year.


  52. 52
    Allan

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:14 am)

    Let’s get some real numbers on this car!

    What IS the battery range in real conditions??
    What is the range on a full charge and full tank of gas??

    Not catching on in China? This is not a good sign.

    Low oil prices to win AGAIN?


  53. 53
    RB

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:16 am)

    #37 Guido asks me and others with a similar outlook:
    how many of these products have you refused to buy ( once the prices came down ) because some Hollywood high-school dropout got to buy one first ? It’s just sound bidness practice
    =========================

    It’s fine, just an image of vapidness that the product and price has to be strong enough to overcome. (It’s also true that sometimes products establish a following among knowledgeable early adopters and then spread out to the general population when available in substantial volumes at lower prices, e.g. personal computers.) Whatever.


  54. 54
    HyperMiler

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:21 am)

    # 51 Allan

    > What IS the battery range in real conditions??

    Probably 30 miles in real-life driving condition.

    > Not catching on in China? This is not a good sign.

    Chinese consumers don’t care about environment; all they care about is price and electric cars lose out in pricing.

    > Low oil prices to win AGAIN?

    china always had subsidized gas prices. They were paying $1.50/gallon while American drivers were paying $4.50/gallon last summer.


  55. 55
    RB

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:25 am)

    #40 MuddyRoverRob says
    The Leno exposure is good because the general public knows Leno as a car guy, if Jay says it’s good then it gives a positive feeling.
    ==================================

    I’ll take your word that a lot of people feel that way. For me it’s a negative. Whatever. Volt is GM’s product to do with as they see best. If at some future point I’m convinced, I’ll buy one. For now, I’m neutral.


  56. 56
    ThombDbhomb

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:26 am)

    Would the Chinese buy the PUMA?


  57. 57
    BillR

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:26 am)

    #48 RB

    “Even so, the tiny numbers of sales of the BYD car until now in China leads one to the conclusion that there is not a strong interest there, at this time.”

    Do you think it is the same here in the US, or is Lyle’s want list of nearly 50,000 worthless?

    If the Volt is brought to market as promised, GM will have no problem selling their first few years of production, IMO.


  58. 58
    Eliezer

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:27 am)

    Another possible reason for weak sales is probably that the car looks rather dull and boring. It’s barely distinguishable from a Toyota Corolla. A car with that type of technology that isn’t instantly recognizable is not going to sell well. The same thing has happened with the CIvic, Accord and Camry hybrids in the US.

    Here’s a rule of thumb: If you need to put a sign on the car so that people know it is a hybrid or electric car, then you need a more unique exterior design.


  59. 59
    HyperMiler

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:27 am)

    Well, this is what it looks like.

    American automakers won’t trigger electric car revolution because they are bankrupt.
    Chinese automakers won’t trigger electric car revolution because they don’t have technology and can’t build cars that could sell in developed markets.

    Leave it to Japanese and Korean automakers finish the job started by Volt movement here.


  60. 60
    RB

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:28 am)

    #53 HyperMiler says
    Chinese consumers don’t care about environment…
    ==========================

    Please be cautious about very sweeping statements like this.
    I’m sure there are many who care greatly, far more than the 80 that bought a BYD so far.


  61. 61
    NZDavid

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:28 am)

    Off topic. It seems GM would have a buyer for Hummer if this takes off.

    The Hummer H3 ReEV is the first range-extended electric vehicle based on a full-sized SUV. The Raser scalable plug-in series hybrid design provides 40+ mile all-electric range and 100+ mpg fuel economy. FEV performed the full vehicle integration including electrical and mechanical design. Additionally, FEV developed all software for the hybrid control unit and in-vehicle graphical display.

    Propulsion comes from Raser’s 200 kW traction motor mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission. Raser’s 100 kW generator, driven by a 2.0L SIDI turbocharged engine, provides electrical power. Although a full-sized SUV, the concept has been achieved with only minimal sacrifice of acceleration performance, cargo space, or towing capacity.

    Additional utility is provided by the availability of exportable AC power generation, making the vehicle ideally suited for use as a utility company service truck or emergency service vehicle.

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/04/fev-raser-20090413.html#more


  62. 62
    statik

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:30 am)

    /spidey senses are tingling

    Something strikes me as odd, about “…since Dec 08…only 80 FD3Ms have been sold, and 20 of those to the Chinese government” so here is the quote direct from the article:

    “Auto Biz Review says twenty of these vehicles were purchased by the Shenzhen government, while those left are being used by China Construction Bank’s Shenzhen branch.

    Previous reports say the Shenzhen government has decided to add the F3DM to the city’s cab purchase orders but a recent comment in Auto Biz Review revealed that relevant talks have run into a deadlock due to ‘certain reasons.’

    This is how I interpret this article:

    This sounds to me like, all 80 were purchased by the Chinese gov’t (do they allow individuals to run banks now? nope, so all 80 are internal)….and they aren’t getting any more, because of the official reason of ‘certain reasons’…not they aren’t selling because it is too expensive, that is a conclusion drawn by the author, and by some of us here.

    How about the ‘certain reasons’ being… the car is not ready, does not work or is not in ‘real production.

    Been on sale since december right? Point me to a test drive? None. Show me some shots of hundreds of FD3Ms just waiting for buyers if they “aren’t selling” There isn’t any. Show me the factory with the obligatory thousands of ‘happy, content people’ awho re proving what a joy it is to work and live in China everyday. Whats that? Nothing.

    Here are the facts: Forget that people in China can’t afford this car. There are millions of people in China who can afford a $20,000 car (too bad there is over a billion in the country)…and just like if anyone here could build them, if BYD says, “Hey we are taking orders for our electric car,” they will instantly have tens of thousands of deposits.

    My gut says, they don’t want sales, because for whatever reason they can’t fill them.

    /everybody and their dog wants a EV right now, that goes for the US, Canada, China, Ethipia or on the moon…I defy anyone to show me one brand new, road legal EV sitting on its manufacturer’s dealership lot unsold anywhere on the planet.


  63. 63
    HyperMiler

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:32 am)

    Let me clarify something.

    F3DM has not made a commercial launch in China, you just can’t walk into BYD dealership and drive away with one even if you had money. The launch is symbolic where a few are being made available to select agencies.

    Rather, F3DM is in prototype alpha-testing stage by paid testers. In other word, the state of F3DM is like the Volt alpha mules of 2007.

    Yea, I know you can’t understand how an untested alpha prototype could be sold for TESTING, but that’s how things work in China, where consumers are treated as lab rats.


  64. 64
    DaV8or

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:40 am)

    Are there any western reviews of this car anywhere?? Has it been test driven by anybody that we know? Until there are published drive reports from reliable sources, we really don’t know what we’re looking at. It does not surprise me at all that Chinese buyers have not flooded the BYD dealerships for this car.


  65. 65
    HyperMiler

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:41 am)

    # 59 RB says

    > Please be cautious about very sweeping statements like this.

    You must never heard about China’s infamous air pollution…

    > I’m sure there are many who care greatly

    This is where you are wrong. Let me give you an example about life in China. Let’s say I am being beaten to death by some tug figure in the bus, other passengers mind their own business continue doing what they are doing, not one will come to help. It’s none of your business, so why get involved in a risky situation?

    Let’s say you fall from 5th floor by accident and are dying on the street bleeding from broken head, no bystander will stop to look after you or call the police. Unbelievable, right? But I read stories like this from Chinese newspaper sources frequently and these are actual daily happenings.

    These mindsets of average Chinese produced melamine tainted milk and produce fake eggs and meats out of chemical byproduct.

    So you may find it hard to believe, Chinese really really don’t care about environment.


  66. 66
    GM PUMA

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:42 am)

    BYD will win in the end. They have a better cost structure and more bright engineers in one of their apt buildings than the entire U.S. auto industry. The E3 and E6 are expensive for locals but they need to sell them outside China where they have a huge cost advantage. Euros would snap this cars up as a grocery-getter for $22k. I just wish that American auto engineers had half the work ethic that these chinese do. Most American Engineers are fat snail-paced slobs. China needs to kick some amerika arse.


  67. 67
    HyperMiler

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:49 am)

    #65 GM PUMA says :

    > Euros would snap this cars up as a grocery-getter for $22k.

    BYD cars aren’t US and Euro legal, and BYD’s taking a loss at $22K. Making them US and Euro legal doubles vehicle cost and you are looking at $35,000 minimum for a US market legal version, more for Euro market legal version.


  68. 68
    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:50 am)

    @HyperMiler 62
    “F3DM has not made a commercial launch in China”

    That’s what I thought. I understood the unveiling as selling to govt and municipalities only but no public selling.

    Anyway, comparing markets of here and abroad are say…..Apples and Roast Duck.


  69. 69
    Scotty

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:50 am)

    #64 HyperMiler
    “So you may find it hard to believe, Chinese really really don’t care about environment”

    Sorry but you are just totally wrong. How much time have you spent in China to be able to give a blanket statement about 1.3 billion people? I go there 3 times a year for business for the last 7 years and I can tell you are great many DO care about the environment. Probably about the same percentage that care about it here. Some of the best and brightest solar companies doing amazing work are in China. In fact they are poised to become the leaders in the new energy economy. Quality over there of most companies is very high, many are ISO9001 certified and producing top quality product. The “low quality Chinese products” is yet another stereotype by the media, based on some bad apples.

    Spend some time over there before deciding you know about a whole country based on an “article” you read.


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    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:53 am)

    @DaV8or 63
    “Are there any western reviews of this car anywhere??”

    I keep sayin this. It’s time for a “Throw Lyle on the Plane” tour. Ship him off to test drive one. I’ll donate some funds, a few $$$.


  71. 71
    Vats

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (10:57 am)

    # 61 – statik
    Here are the facts: Forget that people in China can’t afford this car. There are millions of people in China who can afford a $20,000 car
    ———————————————————————————–
    Agree 100%. A friend of mine was in China few months ago. He was amazed to see so many Bentleys there that he said he had never seen so many all his life! And there is something like 100% (not exactly sure) import duty on Bentleys in China which makes a new Bentley bought in China cost double what it would in the United States or Britain.


  72. 72
    HyperMiler

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:02 am)

    #68 Scotty Says:

    > I go there 3 times a year for business for the last 7 years

    That’s not enough. You really don’t understand what and how Chinese are thinking.

    > Probably about the same percentage that care about it here.

    I don’t see Chinese protesters at dirty coal-burning power plants.

    > Quality over there of most companies is very high, many are ISO9001 certified

    Which means nothing. ISO 9001 simply means you have a set of manual for doing things. Doesn’t mean anything.

    > and producing top quality product.

    Now you lost credibility with that statement.

    > The “low quality Chinese products” is yet another stereotype by the media, based on some bad apples.

    Now people don’t believe you.


  73. 73
    noel park

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:13 am)

    #68 Scotty:

    The Natural Resources Defense Council (THE most effective environmental NGO in the world, IMHO) maintains a full time, fully staffed, office in Beijing. They have stated that, in many ways, the Chinese government is more responsive to their concerns than the US government.

    Hopefully, this may change under the new administration, but still it says a lot.


  74. 74
    CorvetteGuy

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:18 am)

    No mention of Manufacturer or Government ‘Rebates’ to promote sales. Do they have Rebates in China?


  75. 75
    statik

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:22 am)

    Nutshell moment:

    BYD can only sell 80 electric cars to a billion people
    -or-
    They have only been able to built 80 units.

    …I’m guess the whole thread/topic is a little misguided (JMHO)


  76. 76
    Keith

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:28 am)

    Just because you can doesn’t make it right to spend more money for a car .

    Gasoline prices in China have dropped for the first time since 2002. Number 93 ( premium unleaded ) now costs RMB 3.55 per liter (USD 0.43 / liter) in Beijing, RMB 0.13 cheaper than it was yesterday.

    In the US state of Missouri which currently has the cheapest gasoline in America, gas goes for USD 1.92 per gallon, or about USD 0.50 per liter. So it’s cheaper to drive your SUV in China than it is in gasoline-loving USA.


  77. 77
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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:32 am)

    HyperMiler

    “That’s not enough. You really don’t understand what and how Chinese are thinking.”

    Well, it may not be enough in your mind, but with the time I spend over there dealing with actual businesses and people I have more understanding that most people posting their ingorant comments on a message board. You seem to be the one with no credibility.

    I invite you to take a trip over there and enlighten yourself, rather than getting all your info second hand.


  78. 78
    Anthony BC

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:32 am)

    Uh, recession? Wait until it’s exported to a country with $4+ gallons and see how well it sells ….(however, 1st gen cars usually don’t sell fast, technology and all, you know things go wrong…)

    Apples & Roast Duck, mmmmm!

    GO PUMA, GO EV!


  79. 79
    Steve K

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:39 am)

    #68 Scotty

    #72 Noel Park

    Thanks for the rebuttal of the nonsense that the Chinese do not care about the environment. I have read reports that there are tens of thousands of ‘environmental riots’ each year in China. Clearly many Chinese leaders also realize that environmental degradation is a serious threat to China’s advancement.

    In a quick search I just found this article, but I am sure there are many more sources.

    China’s Pollution Revolution
    By Christina Larson, Washington Monthly. Posted January 8, 2008

    In 2005, China was shaken by 51,000 pollution-triggered “public disturbances” — demonstrations or riots of a hundred or more people protesting the contamination of rivers and farms — according to the government’s own statistics. (The real figures are almost certainly higher.) The Ministry of Public Security has ranked pollution among the top five threats to China’s peace and stability.


  80. 80
    James T

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:42 am)

    Wow. GM stock down 20% as Marketwatch says “GM reportedly preparing bankruptcy” http://www.marketwatch.com


  81. 81
    hayley

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:45 am)

    LOL @#3 Dan :”80-90% of the population is still on farmland in the country right? (just a guess here..)”

    I know its no harm meant but according to the CIA World Factbook: “urban population: 43% of total population (2008)
    rate of urbanization: 2.7% annual rate of change (2005-2010)”

    Not even close…


  82. 82
    CaptJackSparrow

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:47 am)

    Here’s more on BYD…

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/04/13/chinese-plug-in-hybrid-byd-f3dm-has-sold-just-80-copies-in-fou/

    Strangely their non-EREV sold over 20K pieces and take note of the following quote…
    “BYD CEO Wang Chuanfu expects they will lower the price of the F3DM to around 109,800 yuan ($16,062) once they start building them in larger numbers, which should convince some buyers.”

    So, IMHO, they are not being sold to the GP (General Public) and the count of 80 really means nothing.


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    Don

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:49 am)

    Damn . . . we can make up all the excuses we want, but this is not good news. :-/ I wish we could get more info. What are the exact specs? Are they really publicly on sale? What cars are selling well? How much do other cars cost? Etc.

    I’ll throw in some excuses . . . Asia is very status conscious . . . everyone wants to own a Mercedes or BMW. Perhaps lot of people don’t want to buy a Chinese car. Also, China housing is often very dense high-rise apartment/condo buildings . . . without charging infrastructure, plug-in EVs are useless in such buildings.

    One question . . . I had heard that China had a huge subsidy available to EV buyers . . . isn’t that true? Perhaps it just now took effect?


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    DonC

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:49 am)

    #61 statik

    Of course they could build more. And of course they could sell more. And yes, you’re probably right that they don’t want to do that because the cars suck.

    As for your statement that: “How about the ‘certain reasons’ being… the car is not ready, does not work or is not in ‘real production.” You’re doubtless right on all counts. But as to why they haven’t proceeded with what amounts to a Beta test, who knows. Having lived in China, my personal guess is that didn’t pay off someone’s brother-in-law. But it’s really impossible to say.

    Having said that, the battery technology is an entirely different story. I was hoping the battery technology itself would work. If not then that would be disappointing. However, like I keep telling you, cars are incredibly hard but batteries are, if anything, harder. GM has a history of making batteries work for BEV applications. No one else really does. Huge edge.


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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:51 am)

    #79: >>Wow. GM stock down 20% as Marketwatch says “GM reportedly preparing bankruptcy” http://www.marketwatch.com<&lt;

    I’m shocked it is only down 20% . . . why not much more? They are going bankrupt . . the die is cast. And bankruptcy is GREAT news for the Volt, IMHO. They need to shed off a lot of debt.


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    Cautious Fan

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:53 am)

    Long article on BYD, it’s connection with Warren Buffet, and BYD’s founder.

    http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/13/technology/gunther_electric.fortune/index.htm


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    noel park

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:56 am)

    74 statik:

    Yeah, I don’t think it’s time for us to be getting too cocky. Wait for it.

    OR, we could discuss today’s drop in GM stock which you and #79 James T have reported. $1.66/share according to the last report on Yahoo, which is probably several hours old. Sounds like the hardball game is ratcheting up.

    #77 Anthony BC:

    Yeah, or $ 6, $7, or $8/gallon al la Europe.

    #78 Steve K:

    A lot of people whine about “environmentalists”, or worse yet “environmental activists” here, but I haven’t heard of any riots lately, LOL. More’s the pity, IMHO. All credit to the rioters!


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    hayley

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:56 am)

    Guys… you’re reading waayyy too much into this. There are as many taxis in every Chinese city as in New York City, and it costs about 3 yuan (like 50 cents USD) to go across town in a taxi. It costs about 3000 yuan ($400-500, whatever the exchange rate is now) to get a license after you pass the driving test, and in some places you have to know somebody (have connections) to even get to take the licensing exam, so that means you have to give people “gifts” on top of the exam fee and class fees to learn to drive. After all that, then you can think about putting your life savings into a luxury that you can’t really afford. And then there’s finding non-existent parking… Of course it’s not selling well in China…


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    RB

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (12:00 pm)

    #56 BillR asks me
    Do you think it is the same here in the US, or is Lyle’s want list of nearly 50,000 worthless?
    ============================

    My opinion is that the first 60K Volts will be readily sold in CA during the 2010 model year. After that I’m not so sure. One factor is how many dealers will carry Volts, in that special equipment and training is required, and special permission from GM.

    I’m not sure how Lyle’s list affects the demand, as the list is unofficial and not likely to be used by GM other than for advertising contact, but I think the gm-volt blog itself indicates considerable interest from an initial group of enthusiasts. How much that interest extends more broadly I’m unsure. I don’t hear people talking about the Volt (or electric cars) except if I ask them.


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    Apr 13th, 2009 (12:08 pm)

    #74 statik argues “They have only been able to built 80 units.”
    =============================

    Could be, as that’s more plausible than any other explanation. It seems strange though for a company that controls its own battery supply. Surely the rest of the car is not that short supply.


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    Chinese BYD EV - Page 2 - Tesla Motors Club Forum

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (12:09 pm)

    [...] true that the 60 mile AER is limited to NEV speeds of about 31 mph, I think this vehicle is DOA: BYD FD3M, World’s First Mass Produced Electric Car, Not Catching on in China | GM-VOLT : Chevy… And Doug, I agree, funniest BYD article to date. __________________ Dave ’05 Passat powered [...]


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    Voltair

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (12:47 pm)

    Question: What is the size of the market in China for people wealthy enough to own a private enclosed parking spot with a power outlet, but not wealthy enough to afford a BMW, Audi, or a Buick?

    I make the guess that most Chinese people that wealthy don’t want a car as cheap as $20,000 with very little luxury/performance.


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    noel park

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (12:55 pm)

    #85 Cautious Fan:

    Thanks for the excellent, if somewhat frightening, link. I would say that it offers a pretty good response to all of the concerns raised above.

    Note the comment about selling the cars first in Europe, where gas prices are so much higher. Mr. Wang’s comments on environmental issues were very on point as well. Also the Berkshire guy’s opinion that BYD may become the largest automaker in the world!

    Finally, the article included the clearest, most concise, one paragraph comparison of the fuel costs of electric vs. gasoline cars that I have seen yet.

    Thanks again.


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    James T

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (12:58 pm)

    It could just be that Chinese people don’t like BYD cars. Kind of like, hate to say it, Americans don’t want to buy GMs anymore. Just because one brand isn’t selling over there doesn’t really mean anything about the demand for EVs. Maybe if another brand released an EV it would sell like hotcakes over there.


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    Apr 13th, 2009 (1:04 pm)

    Chinese/Indian can produce a plugin hybrid at $22k today without any gov help and making a profit. In 2-3 years their goal of $15k will be a reality. By that time GM will be dumb trying to upsell its Volt at $40k and not even making any profit as they said last week. What a bunch of loosers!


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    LauraM

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (1:10 pm)

    #88 RB

    I think that Americans are interested. I went to the NYC auto show this weekend, and the Volt and converj both attracted people. And so did the Chrysler EV models.

    And, if gas goes over 5.00 a gallon, they’ll be even more interested.

    #79 James T

    Yes. GM is going through with the Ch. 11. No sane bondholder would even consider the government’s latest offer. 15% of the stock of the company? That’s insane. Especially when GM could still go bankrupt, so any bondholder who took the deal would wind up being wiped out with the rest of of the shareholders.

    And, from what I’ve read, the bondholders will probably challenge the terms of the pre-packaged Ch.11, so it’s not going to be a quick process.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123957652811811897.html


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    Apr 13th, 2009 (1:14 pm)

    I would like to point out that this story on BYD is pure BS before you all get sucked in .
    The cars are NOT going to be offered to the public for nearly THREE MONTHS in China .
    If you really want to know what is happening with cars in China go to chinacartimes.com written by Ash Sutcliffe He is the expert .

    http://www.chinacartimes.com

    BYD to supply battery tech to Euro/US car makers
    Posted by Ashat April 1, 2009So sayeth the WSJ:

    BEIJING — Fledgling auto maker BYD Co. is in talks to supply its batteries to car companies in Europe and the U.S., Chairman Wang Chuanfu said in an interview.

    A deal could solidify BYD’s growing prominence in the electric-car market after it surprised the automotive world by launching a plug-in car in December, ahead of more established foreign rivals.

    Mr. Wang, BYD’s top executive and founder, and other BYD officials declined to identify the companies the Chinese company is negotiating with. Mr. Wang said BYD is negotiating with one U.S. auto maker and two in Europe about supplying lithium-ion batteries it produces in Shenzhen, where BYD is based. Companies including Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. have chosen battery suppliers for their electric cars, but others are still talking to various companies or haven’t announced who their suppliers are.

    Mr. Wang said the batteries it is considering supplying are the same ones used in its F3DM sedan, a plug-in hybrid that BYD started selling in December to Chinese fleet customers, such as state-owned enterprises and government agencies. The F3DM’s limited release hit the market about a year ahead of a similar car, also initially for fleet customers, being planned for late this year by Toyota. BYD plans to start selling the F3DM to consumers in June.

    A deal to supply its batteries to other car companies could put BYD — a battery producer that began selling cars in 2005 — in competition with battery companies with similar technology, such as A123 Systems Inc., a closely held company based in Watertown, Mass. A123 Systems couldn’t be reached for comment.

    Mr. Wang said BYD’s ability to produce lithium-ion battery cells at relatively low cost, in part because of its choice of technology and inexpensive Chinese labor, gives the company an advantage over other battery makers. Last year, a company controlled by investor Warren Buffett invested $230 million in BYD, chiefly because of BYD’s cost-effective technology.

    Concerns over gasoline shortages and climate change have prompted a global race to commercialize affordable electric-battery cars and plug-in hybrids like the F3DM that get most of their power from their batteries. Those efforts have been limited largely by immature battery technology.

    While lithium-ion batteries are seen as the technology that will ultimately work, their successful use has been hindered by relatively high price, limited durability and safety concerns. BYD says it has largely resolved those issues by turning to a safer, more cost-effective technology called iron-phosphate-based lithium-ion.

    A few weeks ago, the Honda CEO rubbished the BYD hybrid car as nonsense:

    In an interview with the Chinese automotive website, auto.163.com, Honda’s president Mr.Takeo Fukui, downplayed any enthusiasm over BYD’s launch of the BYD F3DM (Dual Mode Electric Hybrid) sedan at the Guangzhou Auto Show.

    Mr.Takeo Fukui believes that hybrid technology is still in its infancy, and for the large part, has not crossed the psychological barrier of 100km per charge, which would no doubt bring many consumers flooding into the dealerships looking for cheap EV cars. Mr.Takeo Fukui commented that BYD’s research into EV technology cannot be that great at this stage (BYD’s parent company is one of the leading producers and developers of cell phone batteries)

    Now with international auto manufacturers queuing up around the BYD head offices to buy battery technology, we wonder if Honda executives will be taking their place in the line?


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    ziv

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (1:35 pm)

    This recession is going to leave scars on the US economy that aren’t going to disappear anytime soon, and we probably won’t be recovering from it until next spring. But the recovery, whenever it comes, in whatever strength, will send the cost of oil sky high as peak oil reduces supply just as demand increases. As has been mentioned repeatedly, gas prices are going back up so the late 2010 arrival of the Volt, if GM survives, could turn out to be perfect timing. As Guido pointed out in #27, early adopters were going to love the Volt at just about any price, but the vast majority of us won’t buy it unless we can get it close to, or below, $30,000, net after tax credit. If gas prices stay near $2 the Volt will be welcomed, but if the price of gas is around $4, or more, by November 2010, GM is going to look brilliant as they release a car that uses just 5 or 6 gallons of gasoline a month (for most of us).
    The Volt won’t save GM, but it will help, and so will the Cruze and the Spark, if they are as fun to drive as they are nice to look at. But as NZ David stated, what will save GM is the option of ER-EVing most of their product lines. ER-EV the Orlando next, then a Caddy, then a small pickup and you have potential sales numbering in the millions annually.


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    Apr 13th, 2009 (1:40 pm)

    There’s NO doubt anymore that the electrification of the automobile is coming on strong now. Hell everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. #2 richest guy in the world Warren Buffett is a major stockholder in BYD you know.

    Buffett’s good buddy Bill Gates and former CTO Nathan Myrvold from Microsoft are interested in electric cars too. They just filed a patent for an “electromagnetic engine” that uses a “plasma injector”. No joke. Sounds like “Back to the Future” technology.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/bill-gates-car-engine,7517.html

    The next 20 years in the auto industry are going to be interesting to say the least. The IC engine is on the way out and more and more electrified powertrains are on the way.

    After the automobile, I’m sure more airplanes will be on the way. Heck, they’re already making super stealthy UAV planes for the U.S. Navy with fuel cells. It keeps on flying for 24 hours. Bin Laden is not going to like this. :)

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13639_3-10214731-42.html


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    Apr 13th, 2009 (1:45 pm)

    And I thought Tesla with 250 sold was first .


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    Jeff

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (1:55 pm)

    Somewhat related. The following text is from a fan website of another competitor…

    The Chevy Volt Deathwatch continues… today we’ve found out via Automotive News that the Department of Energy has put a hold on the $10.3 billion in taxpayer money I told you about a couple of weeks ago that GM requested in order to finish the Volt and its underlying technology. The money is being held up due to GM’s inability to pass a “financial viability test in order to simply survive.”

    And so the Chevy Volt Deathwatch continues…


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    Herm

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (1:58 pm)

    thanks for that link:

    http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/13/technology/gunther_electric.fortune/index.htm

    Interesting that BYD is competing with other manufacturers by using cheap labor, and the competition (Sony, Sanyo) uses automation to make cells..

    That just tells me that there is still a potential to lower the cost with further extreme automation, large scale full mass production of lithium cells.. so there is still hope for battery manufacturing in the US.

    Go Team A123!


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    HyperMiler

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (2:41 pm)

    #76 Scotty :

    > with the time I spend over there dealing with actual businesses and people I have more understanding

    No you don’t. You don’t understand what drives Chinese to taint milk with melamine, or replace parts of a product with inferior substitute without your knowledge after gaining a type approval.

    > I invite you to take a trip over there and enlighten yourself

    I don’t have to. I know exactly what goes through a Chinese mind when I see through his/her eyes.

    #78 Steve K :

    > I have read reports that there are tens of thousands of ‘environmental riots’ each year in China.

    Those happen when companies poisoning local water and air(Like I said, Chinese don’t care about environment, especially corporations) refuse to compensate local residents who are physically sickened.

    #94 RVD :

    > Chinese/Indian can produce a plugin hybrid at $22k today without any gov help and making a profit.

    Chinese and Indian can’t. Beside, BYD takes a loss at $22K.

    #96 Keith :

    > Now with international auto manufacturers queuing up around the BYD head offices to buy battery technology

    What international auto manufacturers? Heck, even Chinese automakers bypass BYD batteries and use foreign batteries.

    > we wonder if Honda executives will be taking their place in the line?

    Not at all.


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    Tom H

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (3:18 pm)

    Just 31 mph? Sounds like it’s just a plug-in Prius drivetrain.

    We are all just guessing, of course. But another possibility is that it is very similar to the Volt electrics and drive train. The Volt is marketed as giving 40 AER when driven normally. Since the efficiency of PHEVs is highly sensitive to air-drag, and drag increases with the square of the speed, it may be that the VOLT would also give 60 AER if driven at 31 mph.


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    Apr 13th, 2009 (4:12 pm)

    I can’t see how battery defects could possibly be affecting sales
    if they’ve sold this few. A 60 mile range is impressive, even at 31 MPH. The range at higher speeds would still be far greater than the Volt. the pricetag for the Chinese market is high – this would have no affect on markets in the West. $21K is cheap for a car that can do what this one can. It is practical and can function fine as an only car, something none of the touted electrics can manage. At $15,000, this car would have murdered all the competition in this country with prevailing $4 plus gas prices. Those batteries used for this car are far cheaper than those in the Volt, although they
    don’t have as long a lifespan. Cheap although not too good was how the Japanese automakers made their big splash in this country.
    Their cars weren’t known for quality, but they were cheap and used
    little gas at a time when the gas crisis had enveloped this country.


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    Michael Robinson

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (4:23 pm)

    I think a parallel hybrid is the only kind of hybrid that is going to
    catch on and only if the battery is small enough to be affordable.

    I don’t blame the Chinese for not embracing this car. The Honda
    FCX Clarity is a better deal. The Clarity isn’t limited to 35 mph for
    electric only driving. If I were Chinese, I’d be saving my money
    for the first affordable fuel cell vehicle to come to market.

    Criticism for the battery electric vehicle:

    1) Is the stated range a daytime range?

    2) How much stored energy is there to run lights, radio, A/C,
    heater, any other electronic amenity?

    http://web.robinson-west.com/michael/hydrogen


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    HyperMiler

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (4:29 pm)

    #104 kent beuchert Says

    > $21K is cheap for a car that can do what this one can.

    US price will not by $21K. To make it US legal, BYD must replace the steel sheet used to fabricate the car(Chinese steel mills do not produce steel sheets strong and anti-corrosive enough to meet US regulations, they must be imported), just for the starter. Then throw in airbags, ABS brake, California emission compliant emissions, CARB battery warranty(10 year/150K miles), and you are looking at $35,000 or more. Heck, BYDs aren’t even designed to last 10 years, their engineering life span is 7 year/120K miles.

    > Those batteries used for this car are far cheaper than those in the Volt,

    For a good reason. They don’t even meet CARB warranty requirement.

    > Cheap although not too good was how the Japanese automakers made their big splash in this country.

    And they didn’t sell.

    > Their cars weren’t known for quality

    Japanese cars had 30% defect rate of US cars by the end of 70s. This is when the legend of Japanese quality among American consumers was born. This came to be because Japan was a quality obsessed culture, dating back by at least 600 years.

    China on the other hand historically has been quantity over quality. Quality never mattered in China before the time of Christ, and quality still doesn’t matter in China today.


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    Electric Vehicle Owner

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (4:43 pm)

    Let’s see if my mostly uninformed comments help counter some of the other ones about BYD and China:

    1. Their partial year sales (not leases) to date is more than Ferarri’s first 5 years worth. They already have infinitely more plug in vehicles sold than GM.
    2. They only sell to fleets so far, not to Yu-Chen SixPack private consumers.
    3. They want con-commitment gradual development of appropriate municipal infrastructure and long term testing before scaling up too fast.
    4. Europe is an obvious future market, so they have much work to do on fit/finish/homologization, so it doesn’t pay for them to scale up too fast if the tooling may change for a more global architecture.
    5. They also have two full electric models coming out this year, so they want to be able to compare and contrast and get the product mix right before going overboard.
    6. They never, never stop working hard to be better, and their core competency is electric energy carriers, and they are learning (and succeeding) on automobile manufactury in general very fast and broadly, so ignore them at your own risk.
    7. BYD is competing by using lots of labor instead of no labor (all robots). That means more employees=more consumers=broad low level economic growth=more high cost durable goods demand in entire society= watch out US, China is the new free market economy.

    @ ziv 96.
    You said:
    “gas prices are going back up so the late 2010 arrival of the Volt, if GM survives, could turn out to be perfect timing. ”

    No the perfect timing was December 2007, when they really started to go up a lot the last time, or any time in 1979 or 1974, the last two times before that. GM has missed the boat three times now. Get it out NOW!


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    jeffhre

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (4:46 pm)

    HyperMiler 64

    I think you are right about the vehicle being in limited release to Chinese agencies. Seems like others back you up also.

    Also it’s pretty cool that you not only have the ability to speak for the wishes of well over a billion people but you know their thoughts also, which you have posted in comments.You wrote, from two posts, “So you may find it hard to believe, Chinese really really don’t care about environment.” And,
    “You really don’t understand what and how Chinese are thinking”

    That is really an amazing skill, how can I learn to do that. Maybe I can learn to do that for all American people, though I have lived in daily contact with many Americans all my life, I have not learned that amazing skill of yours.


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    Apr 13th, 2009 (4:50 pm)

    HyperMiler 106

    I usually get worried when someone posts their version of the truth and starts using the always and never assumptions.


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    Apr 13th, 2009 (4:57 pm)

    Michael Robinson

    “I don’t blame the Chinese for not embracing this car. The Honda
    FCX Clarity is a better deal”

    How is an $840,000.00 limited production fuel cell vehicle, available only for hand picked often high profile leasees, a better deal than an electric/gas hybrid for $21K?

    Are you referring to economics or in terms of environmental concerns, fit and finish, practicality, utility or what because by any usual use of the term deal, I can’t follow your logic. Break it down for me.


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    Apr 13th, 2009 (6:59 pm)

    THANK YOU #109! We need more of this logic.

    Finally, the truth comes out. I knew the car’s stats couldn’t possibly be as good as they claimed. I’ll take a Volt, thank you very much. I wonder what all the BYD fanboys have to say about this :) . I really hope BYD learns from this and improves their technology. China needs EVs desperately, even though their powerplants run on coal.

    Nukes+ EVs = America + China + everyone’s first big step toward getting off hydrocarbons (although it’s no magic bullet).


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    Jake

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (7:24 pm)

    1. The Volt’s battery will also take several hours to charge. It probably only takes less time because the usable battery capacity is less.

    2. It is entirely possible that the Volt will also need to travel below highway speed to achieve its full 40 mile AER.

    ====> I’d still be much more comfortable buying a Volt (reliability, safety, etc.), but I don’t think the above “limits” to the FD3M are anything unique to that car. BYD engineers still have to obey the laws of physics, just like GM engineers. If you sold the Volt in China it would have the same “problems.” Hopefully American consumers are forgiving.


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    Paul

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:08 pm)

    This story is echoing around the internet like a wild fire, yet the claims are slander and from a questionable source!

    If the cars have only been sold to local Government and a bank, who is spreading the rumor of high battery failure rates, long charge times and low range? We can be fairly sure the gov and bank wouldn’t discredit themselves by making such slanderous claims in a public forum.

    Sounds like a classic EV hatchet job. One thing is FOR SURE, expect this kind of FAKE STORY to appear when the Volt is launched to try and put buyers off Evs.

    Lets hope that GM-Volt.com doesn’t just repeat those stories like they are true without questioning the source of the information as is the case here!


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    GM-fan

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:22 pm)

    #103 HyperMiller

    “Chinese and Indian can’t. Beside, BYD takes a loss at $22K”

    Um, I have never read any information about BYD sell electric-car at 22K will loss, where you get that?

    Retail price for F3 (ICE): 8k

    Please show us the source to believe the statement. GM get loss for Volt @ 40K doesn’t mean BYD will loss @ 22K


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    Apr 13th, 2009 (8:45 pm)

    Just out of my curiousity….

    Does anyone imagine “HyperMiller” is working for GM,A123 ?


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    Herm

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:04 pm)

    HyperMiler, you are making strong assertions, obviously you are not reading the same vague and limited infomercials that we are.. what is the source of your information and is there any way to document it?


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    Herm

     

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    Apr 13th, 2009 (11:50 pm)

    Interesting battery from Toshiba, and they are going to mass produce them this fall:

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/04/scib-20090413.html#more

    this battery has a very long life of 10,000 cycles and capable of 90 second recharges. Thats right, it can be recharged in one minute and a half..

    A 30kg pack can deliver 150hp to an electric motor but only with a range of 1.8kwh or about 9 miles.. this probably would be a lightweight cheap pack (very few cells) and would be suitable for a short range (and cheaper) Volt version.. also excellent for a Prius plug-in conversion. I doubt it would need cooling.

    You could not downsize the existing Volt pack because the cells would have to work harder and thus overheat.. but these cells bypass this problem. They should also be excellent for heavy duty brake energy recovery.


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    GXT

     

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    Apr 14th, 2009 (12:44 am)

    For all of you saying you wouldn’t buy the BYD because of the 60 miles @ 31 MPH:
    The city test under which the Volt apparently gets 40 miles electric (with no AC, of course) has an average speed of 21.2MPH.

    “The average speed for the test is 21.2 mph or 26.2 mph not counting the stopped times.”
    http://carnutgarage.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=23&Itemid=50


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    Herm

     

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    Apr 14th, 2009 (4:18 am)

    GTX, from your link:

    The EPA has recognized that its methods of calculating fuel mileage do not accurately represent today’s roads or driving styles. It has announced new testing procedures that will take effect with the 2008 model year cars. These new methods will more realistically estimate fuel mileage in today’s real- world conditions. Use of air conditioning, more rapid acceleration, higher speeds, and a wider range of operating temperatures will be taken into account in these new procedures.


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    Electric Vehicle Owner

     

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    Apr 14th, 2009 (9:41 am)

    @ Herm 119

    1. Excellent exposition for a lay audience. Those EPA changes were put in place on their fuel economy site well over a year ago. I like the US-06 cycle, myself.

    2. No one seems to know this, but the US DOE/EPA set up a metric that allows direct comparison between any types of vehicle, # kWh / 100 miles, a long, long time ago. A gallon of gasoline has about 36 kWh of energy in it (depends on who you ask and how much low energy corn ethanol you pollute it with), which demonstrates its excellent energy density. I suggest the DOE Kids Page and then just do the conversion from megajoules to kWhs. Easy.

    3. I’d love to hear an honest discussion about at vehicle (at vehicle energy taken to produce total vehicle cycle miles) efficiency metrics. I have yet to see one on the internets.


  122. [...] Source: Chevy-Volt [...]


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    Bob G

     

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    Apr 14th, 2009 (5:35 pm)

    #66 GM PUMA says, “… I just wish that American auto engineers had half the work ethic that these chinese do. Most American Engineers are fat snail-paced slobs.”

    That’s a surprising assertion, considering how productive American workers are in comparison the their foreign counterparts. I suppose you have data from the US Department of Labor, or results from a reputable scientific survey to support your assertion. No? Maybe you met a guy once who you thought was fat and slow, so you assumed he must have been an American engineer. No? Maybe you have no facts, so you resort to childish personal insults instead. No? Maybe you have nothing valuable to contribute to society, so instead you criticize the work of others. No? Maybe you are just a big dumb, stupid, poopy face – so na na-na na naaa naaa!


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    Uncle B

     

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    May 29th, 2009 (9:06 am)

    The Chinese must get out from under the constant copying of the American Status Quo and build a two seater, tandem style, carbon fiber and plastic bodied, 150 mile range battery plug-in that can be charged using a solar cell energy pack exchange system on the garage roof! If your batteries die in town, someone can bring you a new freshly charged set, slip them in, and away we go! First all car makers must give up weight – them they must give up doodads, next they must adapt to the electric motor for a lifetime of cars concept – the body gets shabby, we take out our electric motor and put it in a new body! Batteries will always have to be recyclable, exchangeable and rechargeable. Humanity will be forced away from the current model by astounding rises in the price of oil, coming very soon to a very greedy world! Eventually personal transportation will give way to trains anyway, but for the time being, a new paradigm will prevail, away from the Detroit model, and heavily influenced by the aerospace industries.


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    Rickster

     

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    Nov 19th, 2009 (12:21 am)

    To: “Uncle B”
    In a perfect world, I (and everyone else, with a BRAIN) couldn’t agree with you more, but unless certain things hopefully, and drastically “change”/adapt/move out of the way/…, namely Exxon, GM, Ford, Monsanto, …., :) , then it ain’t ever gonna happen.
    Its not that “we” can’t, its that they won’t let us.
    If it isn’t Tesla making a $100K+ ridiculously unaffordable EV, then its other B.S, auto-makers purposely willing to produce $20K crap that is “electrically” not even as worthy as my my old Eldon Race car set. !
    We know they could easily make a “good” $20K EV that, at the worst case scenario, you might have to put another $4K->$8K over a 10 year expanse, plus everything else you mentioned above. ?
    So, bottom-line, the powers that be don’t want that, they want everyone to pay as much as we can possibly bare at their greatest profit margins. It really is sad.