BYD Is US EPA Certifying Its 2017 e6 Electric Car

A few years ago BYD North America certified the 2012-2014 e6 electric “crossover SUV” with the U.S. EPA, and since letting that lapse, is again in process for the updated 2017 model year version.

This revelation for the “250-mile range” fleet-only front-wheel-drive EV came from company representative Ben Jurjevich in response to an inquiry of a plain black e6 photographed while driving on the freeway in California.

BYD_e6

Whether the company has more in store – such as making a move toward eventual consumer retail sales – is something BYD would prefer not to comment on at this time, he said.

BYD, which builds electric buses at its Lancaster, Calif. facility, also happens to be the world’s highest volume plug-in car seller with 101,183 sales last year, compared to second-place Tesla’s 76,243.

BYD-e6-back

Those sales are nearly all from the burgeoning Chinese market where BYD sells the Qin and Tang – two quick plug-in hybrids which accounted for more than half of those sales. The Tang, with more power than a Chevy Corvette, is the world’s third-best seller.

SEE ALSO: China’s BYD Tang Hybrid SUV Has More Power Than a Corvette

Reports over the years have been that BYD, quietly operating in North America, is biding its time to make the move from limited corporate and taxi sales of its e6 in the U.S. to something more ambitious.

Introduced a couple years ago, the Tang is not a second-rate product.

Introduced a couple years ago, the Tang is not a second-rate product.

Jurjevich did not comment on whether other models are being certified – a process necessary to be legal on U.S. roads. The car photographed might have been one of the ones the company has in its own fleet, or something else, but again, the company is not saying.

BYD’s 2016 e6 spec sheet now boasts a large 80-kWh Iron Phosphate (Fe) battery – up there in Tesla territory – and the company states its range is 400 km (250 miles). This likely will not be what the EPA says however, as that estimate is made on a more-liberal test cycle, and the e6 is not the most efficient car in the EV world.

In fact, the “186 mile (300km) estimated e6 of former spec was only certified for 127 miles in the U.S. – not a lot for a car with a nominal 60 kWh of energy storage. The Chevy Bolt has 60 kWh, and is EPA rated at 238 miles.

evs_compared

The e6, classed by the EPA as a “small sport utility vehicle,” however, is far less effective at putting that juice to the ground. The EPA rates its “miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) at just 63 combined, versus the Bolt’s 119. And a large and heavy Model X’ 93 MPGe.

It’s also not as quick, with an estimated 0-32 mph time of 7.69 seconds, versus 3.2 seconds for the Bolt and a bit more for the Tesla.

SEE ALSO: Buffet-Backed BYD Plans To Lease E6 EVs To Uber For Testing

As it is, the e6 may compete on price and value proposition to fleets, as BYD estimates a cost of 3 cents per mile and quick 2-hour recharge time.

And so while consumers may not clamor to get one, it is noteworthy that it is being re-certified as BYD’s products are more competitive than they were in 2011 when Elon Musk dismissed cars like the e6.

Yes, it’s likely a question not of if but when the company that globally outsold Tesla last year on China sales alone decides to get serious with products, and then that will be less of a laughing matter.


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