Shenzhen, China – A compact battery-operated sedan by Chinese-based BYD Auto has sold only 80 units since its launch last December and may be running into quality control problems with its batteries.

According to Auto Biz Review, 20 of the vehicles, named F3DM, were purchased by the Shenzhen government, with the remainder in use by China Construction Bank’s Shenzhen branch. BYD Auto president Wang Chuanfu said that such group users were targeted in F3DM’s preliminary sales plan, since they were not affected by the vehicle’s high price, which is the equivalent of US$21,917. An expected stream of group orders did not materialize following the car’s initial promotion, including cab purchase orders by the government for the city.

BYD is expected to reduce costs by producing a larger number of dual-mode vehicles that could make it competitive for individual buyers, but did not indicate when this would happen. The automaker also said that a lack of charging stations, unfavourable policies and the stagnant auto market have affected expansion of the F3DM program.

Auto Biz Review also reported that the battery may be restricting consumer interest in the car, as it takes nine hours to charge the car using a household power supply. The battery is also prone to high defective rates, as it is difficult to ensure that all batteries are produced using the same procedure and materials. BYD has claimed the F3DM can travel 100 km purely on battery, but the figure is based on a test at a constant low speed of 50 km/h.

BYD has also claimed that the F3DM’s battery can be charged at least 2,000 times, but has not revealed any detailed or proper plan to reclaim batteries once their life cycle is complete.

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