The BYD America Vice President, Michael Austin, was recently quoted in an interview with Autoblog as saying that the (possible) introduction of the BYD Qin electric vehicle to the US would be a game-changer.
Of course, the Vice President also noted that the company currently has no plans to bring the model to the US market — as the time isn’t right yet for electric vehicles (EVs) in the US market, owing to insufficient incentives and charging infrastructure, according to Austin.
“If I brought (the Qin) to the US, it’d be a game-changer,” are the exact words that Austin used. And while BYD did open an office in LA back in 2011, as noted above, the company is apparently hesitant to commit to the US given the current state of things, especially as the Chinese market is booming since authorities are putting much more “muscle” into their efforts to support EV adoption.
Gas 2 provides some background:
BYD is the electric car company you have never heard of. That’s because most of its sales are in China, not the US. In 2015, it sold nearly 62,000 electric cars compared to Tesla’s 50,580. That made it the largest electric car company in the world in terms of total sales. Most of those cars were either the BYD Qin plug-in hybrid sedan or the company’s e6 electric SUV.
BYD America Vice President Michael Austin tells Autoblog that about 80 e6 SUVs have been imported to the US, but all of them are for fleet use. About 50 of them being used as taxis in New York City. Another small fleet of them are being used by Uber in the Chicago area. BYD says its e6 can go as far as 186 miles on a single charge, putting it at about halfway between the range of the high end Tesla Model S and the more affordable Nissan LEAF.
Commenting on other reasons for being slow to enter the US market, Austin noted: “Right now, we really don’t have parts and distribution or consumer warranty service, and we don’t have a dealer network. It’s easier to service fleets.”
Despite all of the above… Austin did state: “All I can say is that we’re absolutely committed to bringing our fantastic (Qin) to the US.”
This is of course a subject that we’ve covered before here on CleanTechnica, even posing the question to BYD’s CEO multiple times — getting something of a non-committal answer at the time (January 2016). So, it seems that things haven’t changed much since then, but maybe the pressure is building enough for BYD to make a move.