Sunday, August 30, 2015

The BYD e6 and range anxiety: Do electric vehicles really make sense?

Twenty years ago, BYD was a battery supplier with no automotive ambitions. Today, it sells thousands of e6 units every year in China, while the newer300hp Qin hybrid is a runaway bestseller, trouncing cheap electric microcars as well as the Tesla Model S.

Sadly, the BYD e6 isn’t for sale in the Philippines.

This is because of delays in the implementation of the Alternative Fuel Incentives Act, which would allow the Chinese MPV to come in tax-free at close to P2.65 million. Without tax breaks, it currently costs P5 million to P6 million to import. That’s a hefty sum for a five-seater MPV.

But this is a five-seater electric MPV, one with a 90kW (122hp) motor, a 61.4 kW/h battery pack, and a 320km range. A far cry from the 40kph speed and 40km range of your typical electric jeep! The only mass-market EV with better range is the Tesla Model S, which costs some P15 million to import. Yeah, taxes.

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