BYD will begin selling cars in the first quarter of 2012, starting with their new e6 all-electric MPV. Live pics of the car from Detroit, and details, inside.

Chinese automaker BYD, backed by American billionaire investor Warren Buffett, will attempt to sell their auto models in the U.S. by March 2012.  The company plans to kick off sales with the new BYD e6 Premier electric MPV, now on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Speaking through a translator to reporters there, BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu said that his company's plan in America revolves around "the pure electric segment."  This would begin with the e6, which could sell in certain U.S. markets for about $42,000, followed by a production version of the S6DM, and electric buses for various fleet and public transportation outfits.

To spark consumer interest, BYD may have to figure out a way to reduce the sticker price of the e6, which is over $1,700 more than the Chevy Volt.  Chinese government agencies are able to buy the vehicle for roughly $32,000.

The e6 reportedly travels 186 miles (300 km) on a single charge of its lithium iron phosphate battery.  Recharge time takes between 40 minutes and six hours, depending on the power outlet used.  Currently, the car is available in China with power ratings between 101 and 269 hp (75 to 200 kW).

Look for a test production run of BYD e6 models to hit the roads of Southern California in the second half of 2011, one year later than planned.  The automaker also plans to unveil a North American headquarters in Los Angeles at the end of the summer.

BYD e6 to hit U.S. market in 2012