Just a few years ago Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer arrived at the Detroit Auto Show with a humble booth and a demonstration model of an all-electric sedan. Unfortunately for BYD, General Motors was the star of the show with its range extended, plug-in Chevy Volt. The Volt would go on to win accolades and a great deal of attention. Elon Musk’s Tesla would garner attention and accolades without even having presented there. And BYD would go on to struggle to get people interested in its all-electric offerings. And that was despite famous investor Warren Buffet buying into the company.
BYD recently even had to begin offering gas-powered vehicles to its lineup in order to remain profitable. Gas-powered cars ended up fueling half of BYD’s revenues. In essence, BYD had to create a gas-powered wing to subsidize its continuing efforts in the all-electric sector.
But despite these setbacks, BYD is still pushing its electric technology. And Bogota, Columbia is the latest customer to buy into BYD’s vision. Bogota’s “BIOTAXIS Project” ordered a fleet of 45 BYD e6 vehicles that will tool around the capitol city of the South American nation known more for its rich resources in petrochemicals. However that isn’t the entire Bogota story, the city is well known for its forward thinking in public transport systems. It’s no surprise to see it experimenting with low-carbon taxis.
The BYD e6 looks like a cross between a sedan and an SUV, well suited for taxi purposes. The big surprise is that, unlike many electrics, it doesn’t use a lithium-ion battery, but an iron-phospate battery system that gives the vehicles a state 300km range (186 miles). That’s a decent range for an electric vehicle, and BYD claims to have 100 million kilometers of driving done by e6 vehicles.
They might not be ubiquitous in the US, but it certainly points to another piece of the all-electric ecosystem being tried out in other parts of the world.