The BYD F3DM is regarded as the world’s first mass produced plug-in hybrid and is headed to the U.S. in 2011

The BYD F3DM is regarded as the world’s first mass produced plug-in hybrid and is headed to the U.S. in 2011

Chinese manufacturer BYD is planning to have vehicles on sale in the U.S. within two years, with similar ambitions for the European market. The company took a step closer to reaching those goals by launching the world’s first mass-produced plug-in hybrid vehicle in China last month, and at this week’s Detroit Auto Show it confirmed that it plans to enter the U.S. with a range of pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

BYD's future lineup will include the F3DM and the battery-powered e6, a mid-size five-passenger crossover vehicle with a driving range of up to 250 miles on a single charge. Speaking in Detroit this week, BYD chief Wang Chuanfu also said the company plans to set up manufacturing facilities in the U.S. "when it is appropriate."

At the heart of BYD’s technology is its proprietary Fe battery, which the company claims is extremely safe, environmentally friendly, affordable, and can be quick-charged to 50% capacity in only 10 minutes.

The Fe battery is used in the e6 electric crossover vehicle, as well as BYD's new ‘Dual Mode’ family of plug-in hybrid vehicles, including the F3DM compact sedan and the upcoming F6DM midsize sedan. The Dual Mode name refers to the pure-electric and petrol-electric hybrid driving modes available.

BYD is currently "talking to some third-party consulting and engineering companies to get a thorough understanding of the safety standards" in the U.S., an important ingredient for success in the world’s biggest car market.