The new BYD hybrid can drive non-stop for more than 2,000 kilometers

(Bloomberg) — BYD Co. unveiled a new hybrid powertrain capable of traveling more than 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) without charging or refueling, intensifying the electric vehicle transition war against Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG.

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The upgraded technology, which aims to put more distance between BYD and its historic rivals, will launch immediately in two sedans costing less than 100,000 yuan ($13,800), the automaker said in an event broadcast live from China Tuesday evening.

The longer range means some of BYD’s dual-mode plug-in hybrid electric cars can cover the equivalent of Singapore to Bangkok, New York to Miami or Munich to Madrid on a single charge and a full tank of gas. The milestone marks BYD’s latest achievement in reducing fuel consumption since the launch of hybrids in 2008.

Shenzhen-based BYD has disrupted China’s auto market with widespread price cuts at the expense of profitability, and its pricing for ultra-long hybrids could further fuel the price war. It sold 3 million cars last year and delivered nearly a million this year through April. Of every two hybrids sold in China, one is a BYD, underscoring a key revenue and profit driver for the company.

Hong Kong-listed shares of BYD rose 4% on Wednesday.

Read more: Chinese buyers adopting plug-in hybrids lock in gains for electric vehicles

Automakers around the world are trying to solve consumers’ range anxiety and make vehicles that are better for the environment. Toyota also unveiled prototypes Tuesday of a new generation of internal combustion engine that can run on hydrogen, gasoline or other fuels in addition to batteries.

At the event, BYD claimed that during testing, its plug-in hybrid managed to achieve a range of up to 2,500 kilometers. For now, the improvements are aimed at cars made in China, but they will likely be exported soon.

Electric and hybrid vehicles are pushing the boundaries of range to combat what some consumers still see as a disadvantage when switching from gasoline.

BYD stopped producing fossil fuel-powered cars entirely in early 2022 and stepped up exports of hybrids to emerging markets lacking battery charging infrastructure.

The first two vehicles with long-range capabilities are mid-size sedans: the Qin L and Seal 06, both unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show in April. They are part of the Dynasty and Ocean series respectively.

(An earlier version of this story corrected a reference to this year’s sales.)

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