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PHOTO CAPTION: BYD E6 electric crossover SUV at 2009 North American International Auto Show. Photo credit: EV World.com

Chinese Electric Car Jolts The Competition

BYD is working with electricity companies to set up charging stations where motorists could charge a battery half-full in 10 minutes.

Published: 17-Jan-2009

One of the carmakers showing off its electric power at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit is from China. The Shenzhen-based company BYD — which stands for Build Your Dreams — has built the world's first mass-produced, plug-in hybrid car, beating both Chevrolet and Toyota to the punch.

The midsize sedan is called the F3DM. The car has a gasoline engine that kicks in when a driver accelerates to more than 37 mph; up to that point, it runs completely on electricity.

The F3DM produces 160 to 180 horsepower and can travel up to 60 miles just on its lithium ion battery, after which it relies on the small gas engine. BYD claims that charging the F3's battery costs 75 percent less than filling up a gasoline-powered car.

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The company is working with a number of vehicle manufacturers on the development of batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles and expects more announcements like this one to come.

With seating up of four people who use all the large muscle groups, the car can easily cruise at speeds of up to 20 mph.

ZAP is hoping to keep the MSRP at $30,000 for the Alias three-wheeler pictured here.

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