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Friday, December 9, 2011
Green Wheels: BYD’s all-electric E6
The green machine:
BYD is one of the fastest growing green energy enterprise in south-east Asia, but these are rather tough times for the Chinese automaker. Even after backing from the legendary investor Warren Buffet, they projected 35 to 65 percent decline in sales. What might save them this year is the new all-electric e6. The crossover promises 186 miles of range, which is notably the highest among all mass-produced electric cars.
BYD's all-electric e6
The much awaited car was initially expected to be launched in US in 2010. BYD came into highlight with its plug-in hybrid sedan, BYD F3DM, which became world's first mass-produced plug-in hybrid. China is the world's largest automobile market and intends to have 1 million electric-vehicles on its roads by 2015, leaving Japan behind. Such car would certainly help China reduce its pollution and environmental problems and would make the markets for electric-vehicles more competitive.
BYD is known for producing environment-friendly battery technologies and has advantage of this in manufacturing electric-cars. BYD electric cars consist of iron-phosphate batteries that are proven to be safer than its other counterpart lithium-ion batteries. They don't easily catch fire during charge or discharge and can handle more extreme temperatures. The ferrous ion battery serves as a substitute to toxic cobalt-based lithium-ion batteries, which are known to be toxic. They are also known to serve longer cycle life.The ferrous iron is more abundant, which results in lower manufacturing cost and a more competitively priced car. All chemical substances that power the battery can be recycled.
The power train:
In 2010 BYD launched all-electric buses in Changsha and Shenzhen city. Around 50 such cars have already been employed on the streets of Shenzhen. They exceeded 4.4 million km, with one of the unit crossing 150,000 km. The battery capacity is 140-185 Ah resulting in an output of 75 kW. The top speed is 87 mph and the overall range is 186 miles. The acceleration is impressive from 0-60mph in just under 14 seconds. The battery is capable of working up to 6000 charging cycles. What works as icing on the cake is the 10 years warranty that ensures feeling of security among the potential buyers.Company will provide rapid-charging stations in Shenzhen along with an option to charge overnight.
Lithium batteries are known to be expensive due to the use of some rare materials in the electrolyte. In contrast to this ferrous iron is plentiful as well as cheap. The new BYD will feature many breakthrough technologies especially an “i” system. This means you can use smartphones and cloud computing for various functions such as driver assistance. You can lock as well as unlock your car with your smartphone, search for real-time information and make contact top a service call center in case of an accident. It features DVD and voice navigation system along with a mobile digital TV. IT is always connected to the internet as well as mobile communication network, which means you can perform various functions without much hassle through you phone or dashboard. You can know the location of the vehicle, flight schedule, stock market as well as weather conditions sitting in your car. IT makes a secure docking link with your device and and results in what they call as "car-networking" infrastructure. The 186 mile range is the largest among all mass produced electric cars.
The major disadvantage is that you cannot charge it from any domestic socket. BYD is still working with the Chinese government and the operators to set up a good number of recharging stations. However, the progress is still slow in this area and government as well as the operators have to do a lot to make the idea of electric cars more suitable for the general public. BYD is working further with another Chinese company China Southern Grid to develop cabinets that would allow consumers to charge the vehicle at home.
Cost and availability:
The e6 should cost around $56,900, but government subsidy of $18000 brings the actual price down to $38,430. The price and features puts it in competition with some big names such as Nissin and General Motors. BYD aims at becoming one of the key auto and telecommunication technology manufacturers in the world and the new should certainly put it at the forefront.