Chinese car and battery maker BYD has said that it will start retail sales of plug-in hybrids this week in Shenzhen.

The company, backed by US investor Warren Buffett, said it will go ahead with the plan to sell the cars without waiting for the government to announce new consumer subsidies for new energy cars.

BYD said that the car will be an upgraded version of the F3DM that has already been sold to government authorities and companies.

The F3DM has a solar panel on the top of the car, allowing it to run on petrol, electricity and solar energy.

Prices have yet to be announced. F3DMs without the solar panel are priced at nearly 150,000 yuan (USD21,970) each, about five times the cost of BYD’s regular cars.

Individual car buyers were expected to get 3,000 yuan to 60,000 yuan in subsidies for new energy cars and the policy will be formally announced in April, according to local media reports at the weekend.