While some automobile analysts seriously doubt the claims that Chinese automaker BYD can really succeed in their optimistic plans to market their attractive E6 electric sedan in the U.S. in the near future, the Chinese company claims that it will be selling the cars here within a year's time. One believer in the company is Warren Buffet, who has reportedly invested a cool $230 million in the Chinese company's stock.
While the new Chinese entry doesn't have to meet with tough U.S. air pollution standards because it's an all electric powered, crash testing the vehicle presents another hurdle. The Chinese car will likely conduct it's own crash testing and then submit the data to the federal regulators who will later conduct their own crash tests before final U.S. approval is given. And there's always the problem of no existing dealer network to even sell the new car.
And while the automaker claims a range on the order of 230 miles between charges, some auto industry experts also question that claim as well. Another serious problem is the pricing. Right now the vehicle costs around $40,000 per unit to produce. It would take more mass production, as well as cheaper materials and lower cost technology to bring that price down much. However, there is some speculation that the Chinese may dump this car on the market for less than cost for a time to get a toe-hold in the U.S. market. But how long can any company operate at a loss before they drain their assets out(e.g., GM & Chrysler)?
The E6 might just be a lot of wishful thinking. However, the car certainly looked attractive enough during it's public introduction at the recent Detroit Auto Show this year. While many companies such as Chrysler offered much scaled back exhibits, some new upstart brands such as the BYD E6 were seen for the first time. But will they be seen on U.S. streets as well?