BYD Presents Long-Range EV to Colorado

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted October 24, 2012

The Build Your Dreams (BYD) E6, a Chinese “pure electric” AWD car, achieves 186 miles per charge, and it’s something Colorado’s state fleet test drivers really like.

The vehicle costs $63,000, but the payoff is a range more than double what other available EVs can cover.

The state of Colorado is about to spend $21 million to replace around 585 state vehicles. It’s evaluating 271 bids for electric, hybrid, and CNG options for the program, which is intended to help the state meet its 2007 “Greening Government” objectives.

Part of that stipulates that half of all fuel bought for state vehicles be sourced from alternative options. But the conflict seems to be between a desire to tap into domestic natural gas versus attractive hybrid and electric options, like the E6.

From the Denver Post:

“We’re hopeful that, because of the governor’s focus on compressed natural gas, we can bring a number of CNG vehicles into our fleet,” said Sabrina D’Agosta, spokeswoman for Colorado’s Department of Personnel and Administration, which oversees state vehicles.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean CNG is going to win out. We have to look at those bids and evaluate them thoroughly. We obviously want to know what is out there,” D’Agosta said. “Just because we can’t do something this year does not mean we can’t do it in coming years.”

Due to legislative against electricity, Colorado is now looking toward compressed natural gas. A 2010 law forces the state to remain restricted to CNG vehicles unless any increased costs are in excess of 10 percent above those of gasoline vehicles.

CNG vehicles, though less polluting than conventional ones, still fail compared to the zero-emissions attribute of electric vehicles. EVs are cheaper to operate, and they are more cost-effective on a per-mile basis than CNG vehicles.

Intriguingly, Warren Buffett, billionaire CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A), owns 10 percent of China’s BYD. The company has received federal approval to sell the E6, and it is currently being promoted to Colorado fleet managers, in Florida, and along the West Coast.

The company intends to rely on its expertise in lithium-iron-phosphate battery technology to curb costs. The company is focusing on rental-car companies, and Los Angeles and Hertz (NYSE: HTZ) have already committed to buying the E6.

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