In the U.S., Chinese automaker BYD (Build Your Dreams) is better known for counterfeit car designs, and Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway $230 million investment to buy a 10 percent stake in the company.
In China, BYD is known for its cheap compact cars, trendy SUVs and insanely fast hybrids.
The fastest is called the Tang, the name of China’s most prosperous dynasty.
It’s a monstrous plug-in hybrid sport utility with a combined output of 505 horsepower and a massive 605 pounds-feet of torque.
In comparison, Chevrolet’s Corvette Stingray Z51 puts out 460 horsepower with a torque rating of 465 pounds feet.
The Corvette needs a big, gas-gulping 6.2-lier V8 engine to make that output; the Tang needs only a diminutive 2.0-liter four banger and two electric motors.
Also, Tang’s 0 to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds tops Porsche’s Cayenne SUV with a Sport Chrono option run of 5.1 seconds.
The Tang’s drivetrain consists of a turbocharged 205 horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors; each rated at 150 horsepower and 147 foot-pounds of torque.
One motor is mounted in front, the other motor in back, allowing for four-wheel drive operation. Output is managed by a six-speed automatic transmission.
BYD’s marketing slant for the Tang is ”542 Technology.” The five stands for acceleration under five seconds, the four stands for four-wheel drive, and the two stands is for fuel consumption of 2 liters per 100 kilometers.
Priced from $38,200 to $42,500 including China’s green-car subsidies, the big plug-in hybrid SUV is luxuriously appointed with high features such as a large touch screen and an infotainment system with a television function.
There’s even a built-in air purifier to clean the dirty Chinese air.
The Tang is not only BYD’s best-selling vehicle, it also tops China’s sales chart.
Maybe that’s because the 18-kilowatt hour lithium ion phosphate battery can also be used for other things than just the vehicle; like an electric BBQ, microwave oven, or a popcorn-making machine as demonstrated at the Shanghai Motor Show.