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China-Based BYD Hopes to Sell EV in U.S. Next Year

August 24, 2009

XIAN, CHINA --- Chinese automaker BYD Co. said it is finalizing plans for an electric vehicle that would be sold in the U.S. next year, according to the Wall Street Journal

BYD Chairman Wang Chuanflu said the company is accelerating plans for the U.S. rollout, and that the company will use money from a planned new-share sale in China to help finance those plans. Also in the works is a second production line for lithium-ion batteries near BYD's Shenzhen headquarters. 

The first car BYD plans to sell in the U.S. is the five-seat e6. Other models will become available later, Wang said. 

Wang added that the company plans to select a specific region within the U.S. and initially market a few hundred e6 vehicles, priced at a little more than $40,000, through a small number of dealers. "In the beginning, our target customers are going to be government agencies, utilities and maybe some celebrities," Wang told the Wall Street Journal

BYD already has American ties. MidAmerican Energy Holding Co., a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has invested about $230 million for a 9.9 percent stake in BYD. 

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