Police in China were called to an auto exhibition after consumers staged a street protest about the battery quality of one of EV battery maker giant BYD’s flagship hybrids, the Qin (“秦”).
Dozens of irate consumers stood outside the China International Energy Saving and New Energy Automobile Exhibition in Nanjing last week to complain that while ‘propaganda’ claimed BYD’s Qin 13 kHh lithium-iron phosphate battery pack had a range of 70 kilometres before switching to gas, it was only good for 40.
Protesters complained that if you bought a BYD vehicle, you would be constantly in the repair shop with it.
BYD’s Qin was hailed the ‘top dog’ of the company’s range of EVs, outselling any other electric vehicle in China when it came on to the market last summer.
The model, alongside its sportier sister the Tang (唐), was touted as a rival to the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi Outlander and Tesla’s Model S, although BYD has not said it intends to bring it to overseas markets.
BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu said this month that he expected the company would sell up to 150,000 EVs in 2016, almost treble last year’s 58,000, aided by the government’s subsidy programme for new-energy vehicles.
Total EV sales are expected to reach at least 300,000, according to global research analyst Nomura, while other forecasters said they expected the figure to be even higher.
But battery problems are continuing to plague EV reputation in China.
According to the Beijing Consumer Association, recent complaints have been growing about adverts claiming EVs had a range of 300 km, where in reality the battery was only lasting for 200 km, and then only if the car was driven at below 50 kph for the last 30 kilometres.
BYD responded that consumers were failing to understand how to get the most out of their vehicles, for example with below-par driving techniques, such as accelerating too slowly and decelerating too quickly, and over-use of air conditioning. It also depended on road conditions, the company said.