Chinese carmaker BYD has pushed back the expected release date for its plug-in hybrid vehicles destined for non-Chinese markets. The company’s chairman, Wang Chuanfu, stated that the original target of 2010 was being pushed back by a full year to 2011. The new date puts the release for the BYD plug-in hybrid, called the F3DM, in a similar timeframe to GM’s Chevrolet Volt, which is expected to make its debut only in late 2010.

Chuanfu did not give an explicit reason why the delay had come about, although sales of the Chinese-market F3DM have already begun. Part of the non-Chinese market delay could come from technical difficulties in engineering the car to match stricter U.S. and European safety standards, or from other importing issues.

Reuters reports that the Chinese-market F3DM plug-in hybrid sells for around $22,000, roughly double what non-hybrid cars currently cost in China. Chuanfu is hoping that government subsidies, such as tax credits, will bring the price down however there has been no word on official government incentives yet from the Chinese government.

According to Chuanfu, the F3DM plug-in hybrid can travel up to 68 miles (110km) on electric power alone, significantly more than the Volt's expected 40-mile (70km) electric only range. Chuanfu predicts sales of the car will top 500 units per month in China and will eventually reach 2,000 sales per month by next year, although the current price differential between the plug-in hybrid and ordinary cars may affect this figure.

Additionally, BYD is reportedly in talks to provide recharging stations in the near future, which should help the plug-in hybrid market in China be seen in a more practical light by consumers.