China's BYD to bring electric cars to U.S. in 2010

The electric car company, part-owned by Warren Buffet, plans to enter the U.S. market next year and test an all-electric sedan aimed at raising brand awareness.

Chinese auto company BYD plans to bring an all-electric sedan in small numbers to the U.S. next year.

The company chairman Wang Chuanfu told the Wall Street Journal that the company, which is part-owned by investor Warren Buffet, is now gearing up for a U.S. push. It plans to raise money by offering shares in the company in China to help finance the expansion.

BYD's e6, its high-end all-electric car it plans to bring to the U.S. in small numbers next year. BYD

BYD plans to offer a few hundred of one of its most advanced cars in the U.S., the five-seat e6, which takes seven to nine hours to fully charge and has a 250-mile range.

Initially, it will make the $40,000 car available to "government agencies, utilities and maybe some celebrities" in a specific region, Wang told the Journal during a factory tour of the BYD's lithium ion battery factory.

Part of the goal with the car introduction is to raise brand awareness of BYD with American consumers, he added.

BYD already sells plug-in hybrid sedans with a small gasoline engine that charges the batteries to fleet owners.

Although BYD is still not well known with most consumers, the company has gotten a lot of media attention, in part because of Buffet's $230 million investment. Also, BYD appears to be one of the front-runners in making electric cars for the mass market.

Other automakers betting on all-electric cars include Coda Automotive, Mitsubishi, and Nissan, which introduced the Leaf earlier this month.

 

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