Despite recent setbacks, Chinese maker BYD is determined to enter the U.S. market – and it plans to give potential buyers a taste of what’s to come with the two battery-based vehicles it will unveil at the Detroit Auto Show, next month.
BYD will stage two world premieres, including the unveiling of a pure battery-electric crossover, the e6Premier, as well as the S6DM plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle.
This will mark BYD’s fourth appearance at the Detroit Auto Show, the most significant and widely-watched automotive event in North America. Observers are betting that the Chinese maker will use its 25-minute news conference to lay out plans for finally launching its much-delayed U.S. dealer network.
The e6, if it meets expectations, could help overcome the so-called “range anxiety” issue that many experts anticipate will limit sales of pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs. While most can only manage 100 miles per charge, even with the latest lithium-ion batteries, BYD claims the e6Premier can manage 186 miles, in city driving and hit a top speed of 87 mph.
Using a variant of lithium technology, known as iron-phosphate, e6 reportedly can recharge in as little as six hours on a household plug or just 40 minutes using a 440-volt fast charger. The numbers, however, have raised skepticism among some observers.