China Automotive Threat

EnergyBizâ''s Marty Rosenberg, in a recent post, draws attention to the uphill battle the United States faces in trying to outmaneuver the Chinese in the worldâ''s emerging markets for hybrid and electric cars. â''I fully expect China will conquer world auto markets in the coming decade of 2010-2020,â'' says Rosenberg. â''That is the real criminal story of the failure of nerve and vision by GM, Ford and the Michigan mob that has planted a shiv into the heart of industrial America.â'' For a fuller analysis of Chinese near and long-term economic prospects, see also the thoughtful article by James Fallows in the current issue of The Atlantic.

Fallows argues persuasively that China will weather its current difficulties and emerge stronger than ever. Not surprisingly, he ends with a focus on BYD, the hugely successful Shenzhen battery maker which unveiled a mass-produced battery-hybrid car at the Detroit auto show earlier this year. â''The companyâ''s official goal is to be the biggest automaker in China by 2015, and the biggest in the world by 2025,â'' reports Fallows.

BYDâ''s F3DM, â''the worldâ''s first production plug-in hybrid,â'' might also be described as a hybrid hybrid, in that it has three distinct modes of operation: all-electric, gasoline-powered, and parallel gas-electric. Its lithium-ion battery pack is based on iron phosphate.

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