BYD is a strange company. The Chinese automaker has $250 million from Warren Buffett and a partnership with Daimler to build a four-door electric sedan, but as of yet it hasn’t produced an EV of its own. Now it looks like BYD’s ambitions of leading the EV revolution have been destroyed as the company announces that it won’t mass-produce EVs at all unless a test run of 100 electric taxis in Shenzhen is successful.
To recap BYD’s dramatic EV backstory: The company said that it put a plug-in hybrid–the F3DM–on sale in China this past December, but it hasn’t actually appeared in
dealerships. BYD also had plans to put its electric e6 sedan in U.S showrooms by 2009–a plan that was recently deferred to late 2010. In February, a BYD spokesman denied any further delays with the e6. Now we can see that the e6 may be permanently delayed in China, but BYD claimed on March 8 that it plans to market the e6 in Europe next year. At this point, though, it’s hard to take anything BYD says at face value. We’re betting that the upcoming Daimler/BYD-manufactured electric sedan has a much better chance of making it into production–mostly because Daimler has its reputation on the line.