(First published in TheTruthAboutCars on October 29, 2008 )
While TTAC has Tesla on a Death Watch, aspiring Chinese EV-automaker BYD is getting massive street cred in The People’s Republic. In case you’ve got something called a life, BYD stands for “Build Your Dreams.” Since late September, “BYD” also stands for “Buffet’s Yankee Dollars.” Omaha’s Oracle liked the company so much he wrote a check for $230m for a 9.89 percent stake. [NB: Buffet knows the tax consequences lurking in a CFC-- and we're not talking chlorofluorocarbons.] Based in Shenzen, BYD is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of rechargeable batteries for cell phones. According to The New York Times, “the company also has a fast-growing auto-making unit that accounts for nearly a third of its revenue and makes fuel-efficient compact and subcompact cars for the Chinese market.” They have some bitchin hybrid and plug-in cars in the works with specs that scare the BYDickens out of the competition– if they’re half true.
1.) Gasgoo reports that BYD is on course to sell 200k automotive units this year; double that next year. The F0 model (a clone of the Toyota Aygo/Citroen C1/Peugeot107) just made the Top Ten in China. The company will soon begin selling its first electric hybrid car in China, followed by an all-electric vehicle that could go 300 kilometers on a single full charge. [ED: or not.] The biggest break-through: fast-charging in 15 minutes to 80 percent capacity.
2.) Reuters reports that BYD has signed up 10 distributors for its plug-in hybrid car in Europe ahead of its targeted entry in 2010. Fleet buyers including Deutsche Post AG’s delivery arm DHL Express have indicated initial interest, or so BYD says. Henry Li, General Manager of BYD Auto’s export trade division is electrified by the news. “We’ll start selling in Europe before we get into the United States.”
3.) Motorauthority says that BYD hybrids and plug-ins will definitely be on sale in the U.S. in 2010, after BYD is done “talking to some third-party consulting and engineering companies to get a thorough understanding of the safety standards” in the U.S. Good thinking.
(Picture courtesy of Huffingtonpost. God knows where she got it from. Thank you all the same!)
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