Friday, April 17, 2009

Warren Buffett's Chinese Electric Car Company

"If you think the American auto industry is in trouble now, just wait until the Chinese learn how to make great cars.

BYD is an amazing company. It was started by a chemist and government researcher named Wang Chuan-Fu in 1995 (same year as Yahoo) to make rechargeable batteries, which it learned to do very well. Within a few years, BYD's batteries were cheaper and just as reliable as those made by industry giants Sony and Sanyo. Then Mr. Wang, as he’s known, got into the automobile business by buying a failing state-owned carmaker. BYD's conventional gas-powered cars are selling well these days in China, and his electric plug-in electric model looks like it will come to market with a longer range and a lower sticker price than the new Toyota Prius much-hyped Chevy Volt. As if that were not enough, I'm hearing now that BYD is on the verge of a breakthrough in the solar power business and that the company has big plans to make rechargeable batteries at a utility scale to store energy from intermittent, renewable sources like wind and solar. Today, BYD employes 130,000 people in 11 factories, either in China and one each in India, Hungary and Romania."

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