It is without a doubt that China is a frontrunner in the world’s economy, and despite the bleak global outlook, analysts still point towards an 8% or so growth for the world’s most populous country this year. Having said that, they are clearly flexing their manufacturing muscles, with BYD working on a new hybrid car known as “Qin”, named after China’s first empire. The Qin plug-in vehicle will rely on BYD’s very own LiFePo4 battery that is said to be able to withstand up to 4,000 charges, retaining up to 80% of its performance in the process. It is also said to be clean in terms of being environmentally benign, since no toxic heavy metals were used in its manufacturing process.

Just how does Qin perform on the asphalt? We are looking at a range of 50km if it relies on its battery power exclusively, while the 1.5L turbo-charged direct-injected engine will enable it to have a top speed of 185kph and hitting 100kph from a standstill in a mere 6.9 seconds. This is 2 seconds faster compared to the Chevy Volt, but bear in mind that those are figures released from BYD and not tested by a reviewer yet.

The Qin will also sport more interior space compared to its predecessor thanks to a smaller battery and an increased wheelbase. In addition, there is a robotic device on the dashboard itself that is said to come with integrated cameras. Chances are this will be part of BYD’s “i” networking system that will handle a slew of functions – wireless Internet connectivity, cloud computing, location services, music downloads, driver fatigue detection, and voice control.

The Qin from BYD does not seem to come cheap though, as after conversion, it will retail anywhere from $24,000 to $32,000.

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