BYD says that its F3DM model - China's 'first mass-produced hybrid electric car' - has been launched onto the Chinese market.
 
The F3DM is also the world's first mass-produced plug-in hybrid car according to BYD.
 
BYD president Wang Chuanfu was quoted by Chinese media as saying that his firm and China were on their way to being world leaders in the fuel-efficient auto industry.
 
"Through the F3DM dual-mode electric vehicle, BYD will grab a head-start in the new energy automobile market," he said at the launch in the southern city of Shenzhen, according to Auto 18, an online magazine for China's auto industry.
 
The US federal authorities are examining the F3DM to see if it meets the necessary standards for its domestic market, a spokesperson for the firm was quoted as saying by pcauto.com.cn, another car-focused web portal.
 
Exports to the United States could begin from 2010 or 2011, the company says.

BYD said in a statement that the battery of the new model can be recharged to 50% of capacity in just 10 minutes. BYD plans to launch its pure electric vehicle by the second half of 2009.