Wednesday, May 30, 2012

BYD's electric car is far from shocking

Well here's a surprise. The Chinese auto manufacturer BYD is finding out it can't change the game in the category using shoddy manufacturing techniques, undeveloped technology, and a derivative design.

For all those conspiracy theorists out there who believe that evil corporations are colluding to keep us from enjoying the magical convenience and tree-hugging goodness of electric cars, BYD is exhibit one of why they won't be gracing our roads anytime soon.

With the backing of Warren Buffett's billions, the Chinese company has been working very hard since 2008 to create an all electric car that would meet the needs of worldwide drivers interested in alternatively powered transportation. Well, here we are in 2012 and we're still waiting.

Yes, they have electric vehicles on the road, but their performance is underwhelming, their range is limited, their quality is suspect, and the market is growing impatient. Their stock has fallen 43% in the past few months and a recent fiery crash in China has raised other concerns.

It's not that I'm against electric vehicles. If someone can figure out a way to actually store the energy efficiently, provide at least 200 miles of reliable range and allow for charging times of eight hours or less, while providing comparable performance, safety and price to a gasoline-powered car, I'd be seriously interested.

I just know that we're not even close to having the battery technology to achieve that vision.

Until that time, the true believers will have to be satisfied with hybrids like the Prius, extended range electrics like the Volt, or all-electrics like the Leaf that barely have enough range to get down the driveway.

Me? I'll keep pumping gas into my Audi and wait patiently for the future to arrive.

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