China's battery and electric car maker BYD Co. started selling its F3DM plug-in hybrid car to individual customers in the city of Shenzhen on March 29, Bloomberg reported. This model will benefit from government subsidies for alternative energy-fueled vehicles.
BYD launched the F3DM in December 2008, marketing the vehicle to government and corporate buyers. Now the car's retail price for individual buyers is 169,800 yuan ($24,900), more than double the price of its cheapest gasoline-fueled F3 compact car.
The Shenzhen-based carmaker, 10% owned by Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., delivered 48 F3DM cars last year. Future sales may be boosted by the Chinese government subsidies for alternative energy-fueled vehicles. The stimulus measures are expected to be carried out later this year.
The F3DM being sold to individual customers is an updated version equipped with a solar panel on the roof, allowing it to use gasoline, electricity and solar energy. The vehicle has a range of about 60 miles when using only electric power, the company said.
Shenzhen, where BYD is based, is the first of 13 cities for the F3DM sale. BYD aims to sell 24,000 plug-in hybrids in 2012 and 100,000 by 2015. China plans to provide $1.4 billion in funding to promote plug-in technologies over the next three years.