BYD E6

Remember back in 2008 when BYD (Build Your Dreams) first displayed its fuel saving hybrid at the Detroit Auto Show and later announced plans to begin selling in the US in 2010? A quick glance at any street in the country will provide ample evidence that the Chinese automaker has failed to smother our roadways with low-cost electric and hybrid vehicles. Ditto its buses.

The reasons for this are long and varied - decisions about making cars like the e6 EV available to fleets only - and they've been excellently compiled and summarized in this article in The Huffington Post. It offers both a history lesson and throws out issues such as protectionism and politics to ponder. The story takes us from China to the shores of California and starts all the way back to 1995, when company founder Wang Chuanfu began making cell phone batteries. How he got from there to electric cars is quite a tale.