The first Chinese hybrid car, the F3DM, will hit U.S. showrooms next year from BYD Co. Ltd. (BYD). BYD, which stands for Build Your Dream, sold 240,000 F3DMs last year and Warren Buffet likes the company so much that Berkshire Hathaway invested $230 million in BYD in 2008. In fact, the latest BYD model will be on display at Berkshire's big meeting in May, as reported in New York Times.
BYD is a diversified energy company. In addition to its hybrid models Its products include solar panels, solar shaded parking systems, home energy storage systems and charging equipment and LED lighting. BYD plans to open showrooms in the Los Angeles area.
The F3DM hybrid is a no frills unit. Everything is basic but functional. The gas engine is a 3 cylinder, putting out 168 horsepower. When test driven mileage was about 48.7 mpg.
Driving on electric power takes charge until the battery reading falls to 20%. Then the gas engine takes over and recharges the battery. When the battery is recharged to 30%, the electric power takes over again.
BYD must pass US regulations for hybrids. The most difficult task would be to establish a network of dealerships across the country.
BYD's stock is selling for $4.30, down 12 cents.