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.
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.