The BYD Qin has been BYD's most successful plug-in hybrid to date.

BYD Launches Qin ‘performance’ Plug-in Hybrid in China, Promises European Launch Next Year

In mid-December, battery manufacturer turned automaker Build Your Dreams (BYD) launched the Qin performance sedan, the latest of its plug-in vehicles, in its home market of China.

BYD says the Qin (pronounced 'Chin') will be on sale in Europe by early 2015.

BYD says the Qin (pronounced ‘Chin’) will be on sale in Europe by early 2015.

Next year, the Berkshire Hathaway-backed company says the car will go on sale in Europe.

Capable of a claimed 177 mpg, BYD says the Qin is capable of driving 44 miles in all-electric mode, and can accelerate from 0-62 mph (0-100kph) in 5.9 seconds. Top speed is an electronically-limited 115 mph (185kph).

Interestingly, while BYD has told us the Qin features a 1.5-litre TID gasoline engine, it has left out all mention of battery capacity and recharge time in its press release, although it does say charging can be accomplished via a conventional household outlet.

BYD says the first 100 Qin sedans were sold in just two seconds through its online web store on the car’s home market launch day. That, it says, is believed to be a record for any automaker.

Based on the same plug-in technology found in BYD’s earlier F3DM plug-in hybrid, the Qin is aimed at China’s growing affluent middle classes. Capable of offering both performance and fuel economy, BYD wants the Qin to be the home-grown, greener performance alternative to highly popular import models from brands like Toyota, Nissan, Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, Mercedes, and Lexus.

It's certainly better looking than some of BYD's previous cars, but still seems a little dated.

It’s certainly better looking than some of BYD’s previous cars, but still seems a little dated.

To demonstrate the point, BYD published a series of videos in October last year showing the BYD Qin drag-racing over a quarter mile with a whole host of different luxury and performance cars.

In the longer video, the BYD Qin is shown coming somewhere in the middle of the field of contenders at a make-shift BYD-organised drag strip.

In the shorter video, which we’ve placed below, the BYD Qin is shown beating everything from a VW Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST to a Lancer Evo VIII and Nissan 350Z.

Impressive, but as the keen-eyed viewer will note, all of the cars — with the exception of the Qin — appear to be under heavy braking as they cross the finish line, with both brake lights on and weight clearly shifted to the front of the car.

We’re eager to hear more from BYD about the Qin, but given our previous experience with the BYD e6 (see below), we’re reserving our final judgement on this car until we’ve had a chance to drive it ourselves.

But what do you think? Will BYD’s Qin be a plug-in hybrid rival to existing cars like the Opel Ampera and Prius Plug-in Hybrid for theEuropean market, or will it be like the e6, a car which needs more refinement before it’s ready for the U.S. and European market?


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