links about us archives search home
SustainabiliTankSustainabilitank menu graphic

Follow us on Twitter


Posted on on April 14th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (



The Shenzhen-based BYD (an acronym for Build Your Dreams) was founded by Wang Chuanfu in 1995 on a $300,000 loan. Over ten years it grew to become China’s largest manufacturer of mobile phone batteries, and producing over half of ALL rechargeable phone batteries worldwide. Applying its battery technology to cars, BYD Auto was founded in 2002. As of 2009, it is the sixth-largest car manufacturer in China, and exports cars globally to Africa, South America, and the Middle East.

In 2008 BYD attracted the attention of uber-entrepreneur Warren Buffet, who invested $250 million in the company, buying up a 10% stake. In the beginning of 2010, Wuang Chuanfu was named the richest man in China.

March 2, 2010 –

It said – The e6 – the highly anticipated all-electric vehicle from BYD – made its European debut today at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland.

The unveiling came as part of an announcement by Henry Li, head of BYD auto exports, that BYD would begin selling the e6, as well as the F3DM dual-mode plug-in hybrid, in European car markets starting 2011. This follows BYD’s announcement earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show that the e6 will go on sale in the US by late 2010.

It was the Chinese automaker’s first ever appearance at the Geneva Motor Show, but, as Li assured, it would certainly not be the last: “BYD is a feature of the Geneva show from now on” he told audience members at a press conference this morning at Geneva’s PALEXPO convention centre.

BYD is not the first Chinese car company to present at Geneva, however may well prove to be the first successful one. Its domestic rival, Brilliance, which displayed in Geneva in 2007, laid out similar ambitions of breaking into the European car market, however has not appeared since.

Brilliance’s failure has been attributed to their models’ poor performance in crash tests, and the company’s reluctance to lower prices (as their competitors did) in response to the 2009 recession.

BYD, however, is confident it will succeed where others before it failed. “In China, there are many automakers. Some are big and some are small. Some are government run and others are independent. I believe we are one of the best and we are a very serious company” said Li this morning. {We decided to post this today because we trust Warren Buffet – the man does not like losing money and his readiness to invest means that he recognized credibility when he investigated the company. our web’s comment}

Part of BYD Auto’s success has been on consistently producing reliable cars on par with those from bigger, more established car manufacturers in almost every facet except for one: price.

BYD’s innovative operating practices have enabled the company to significantly lower production costs on its vehicles. It produces 99% of its car components in-house, from the dashboard decals to the radio antennae, at a time when many major automakers are increasingly outsourcing vehicle parts. And it employs local Chinese laborers to put together parts that other major automakers produce on more expensive, machine-driven assembly lines.

BYD is pinning much of its hopes of cracking European and US car markets on the e6, its all-electric offering whose impressive specs have caused quite a buzz in the green car blogosphere.

The four-door, five-passenger car boasts a range of up to 250 miles on a single charge – the highest for any upcoming production-line EV. Its projected 72 Kwh lithium iron phosphate battery pack (the largest battery of any production-line EV) will be made entirely of recyclable chemicals, and be quick-charged to 50% capacity in 10 minutes. Performance-wise, the e6 will be able to do 0-60 mph in 12 seconds, and reach a top speed of 87 mph.

Some have questioned whether the e6 will be able to deliver on such claims, and more importantly, if it will be able to meet Western safety and driving standards. BYD, however, remains undaunted, and, as the e6 goes increasingly public, it seems BYD has every bit of reason to be confident in its product.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a comment for this article