BYD's e6 electric vehicle lands in Rotterdam

Chinese automaker BYD has signed a deal to bring its all-electric e6 vehicle to Europe for the first time.

BYD said May 30 that it will supply authorities in the Dutch city of Rotterdam with electric vehicles as part of the green transportation project 75-EV-RO, which will put 75 electric cars on the streets of the city.

The fleet is designed to ease public concerns and address common misconceptions about electric vehicles such as vehicle safety, charging technology and local environmental impact.

The e6 has been widely shown at international motor shows and has been in use in several Chinese cities for over a year - the city of Shenzhen operates a fleet of 50 electric taxis, clocking up over 3 million kilometers since May 2010, according to BYD's figures.

Now, the vehicle will be piloted in Europe for the first time, ahead of its launch in the US market, which was scheduled for this year but delayed until 2012 in January.

Unsurprisingly, BYD predicts that the European debut of the e6, which can manage up to 300km in range per charge using an iron phosphate battery, will be a big success.

"The successful operation of the e6 taxis in Shenzhen for over a year now has proven its reliability," said the firm in a statement.

"We are very proud to be a part of the 75-EV-RO project and we are very confident in the performance of our electric vehicles."

Getting electric vehicles out and about is a key priority for automakers, faced with a skeptical public unfamiliar with much of the new technology which will power the cars of the future.

Renault announced May 31 that it is sending two models from its new electric vehicle range - the Fluence Z.E. and Kangoo Z.E., on an 11-country European tour.

A total of six vehicles will complete the journey through Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, the UK, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland, with customers able to book slots on the website to have a test drive.

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