BYD Electric Car Factory Visit, Shenzhen, China

BYD electric cars are selling like hot cakes in China, and I've just returned from their factory in Shenzhen.

But I was only allowed into their showroom and 're-charging facility' near the factory, so sensitive is the R&D going on there. More about that later. Here is an E6 'pure' electric car being charged. The PR person was rather coy when I was took this shot. "What are you taking pictures of?", she quipped. "Just focus on the re-charging equipment, not the car, as the E6 is not launched in China yet", she ordered. This is rather strange considering the E6 was on display at the Shanghai Auto Show in April, and at the Eco Expo Asia in Hong Kong last week. The "dark side" does indeed move in mysterious ways. Like she was doing me a favour.

Of the two photos above, I prefer the 'clean' shot with no person it it.

So here's a shot focusing on the E6 not the re-charging equipment! The E6 is special because it's a pure electric, ie non-hybrid, electric vehicle. It can reach a top speed of 100 mph, do 0 to 60mph in 8 seconds, and can travel 250 miles off a single 8 hour charge, making it the first electric vehicle that can seriously rival its normal gasoline counterparts on such crucial deciding factors for undecided customers as speed and distance traveled. This is in addition, of course, to the car's obvious environmental appeal. An eyebrow-raising moment for me was after an engineer finished re-charging his E6, he did tyre-screeching wheel spin then sped off almost silently. That little electro-boy racer was probably trying to impress the PR ladies. But the cars are fast, there's no doubt about that.

And the man in the above photo is about to re-charge his F3DM hybrid with a regular 220V household plug. Nice. BYD electric cars are now the fastest-selling cars in China, although I do recall reading in the business pages of the South China Morning Post a few months ago that the electric car manufacturing sector in China still remains largely propped up by the state. Huge subsidies are the name of the game. Ring any bells? General Motors, perhaps?

The above image is interesting for the fact that it not only shows factory workers returning to work after their lunch break, but it also shows a test vehicle driving around. An E6, if I'm not mistaken. The red character on the license plate is the Chinese word for 'try', so 'Test Vehicle 091' would probably not be a such bad translation. The image was taken from the closest point I was actually allowed to get to the factory floor itself. The PR posse were adamant, no photos in the factory. Secret. No photos in the factory. No photos in the factory. And, no photos in the factory. Secret. I had been bugging them since April. And still, you guessed it, no photos in the factory. I pushed and pushed as far as I could with this one. And when the door remains closed, sometimes you just have to accept it and move on.

In the afternoon I moved on to the Sex Culture Festival in Guangzhou. More about that tomorrow...


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