By Jill Fries
January 29, 2009

With the economy the way it is today, what could be better than a car that doesn’t require all of our paycheck on gas!

While we are purchasing that gas, we are polluting our environment and adding to the ongoing global warming predicament. Why are automakers taking so long to create the perfect vehicle?

Could China be the answer to our prayers? The North American International Auto Show in Detroit this year is holding a showcase of automobiles from around the world; many focusing on energy efficiency.

One of China’s automobile companies has built the world’s first mass-produced plug-in hybrid car.

BYD, Build Your Dreams, is a Shenzhen-based company that beat out Chevrolet and Toyota on the plug-in hybrid. It is a midsize sedan called the F3DM.

The F3DM runs off electricity after charging in an ordinary wall socket for nine hours. The car has a gasoline engine that will kick in after 37 miles per hour. The hybrid can travel up to 60 miles just on the lithium battery.

How does this affect my wallet, you ask? BYD claims that consumers will save 75 percent of costs than by filling up a gas-powered vehicle. I can’t complain there. But this model is right now only sold in China for $22,000.

Where would I charge my vehicle if driving long distance, you ask?

BYD is 10 percent owned by Warren Buffett who owns MidAmerican Energy. BYD and MidAmerican plan to team up and create charging stations all over the world.

China proves again that they are much more technologically advanced and are showing great initiative here to help the hurting environment.

American automakers are still working on the answer to efficient, affordable, safe and quality-made cars.

But China is not yet ready to expand their sales on the new invention into the United States, because they think it will take time for the new technology to be accepted.

They are also very concerned about American’s priority for safety and quality, because Americans are major consumers of vehicles.

The price of this new car is very affordable for middle class individuals with a steady income.

And for the new technology and this economy, it’s an even better price.

I’m not too sure if the idea is what a lot of us picture when we think “plug-in hybrid.” There must be some sort of scientific reason why we don’t just get rid of the gasoline idea altogether. I think you literally plug in a chord connected to the car into an outlet and that’s that.

The charging stations are a great idea if the car evolves, but I wonder what the station would charge because we all know, nothing is free!

Although the F3DM is not environmentally green as it should be, I think and hope that these cars will take off.

We need to start to accept more of these environment?friendly vehicles because we are making things worse for the world.

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Jill Fries

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