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China’s BYD Contemplates a Green Rebirth


byd-electricAs part of a reinvention plan, BYD Co, a large Chinese brand with Warren Buffet as an investor, might shift its focus from conventional automobiles to new energy battery models within two years.

At one point, BYD had dreams of being a competitor of Toyota, but after shares have tumbled by 75% since late-2009, the company is looking for radical ways to be relevant. Since the company’s business ranges from cellphone assembly to solar panels to LED light bulbs to batteries to electric and gasoline-powered cars and buses, there are multiple ways for BYD to streamline its business.

The primary focus of BYD’s rebirth plan is shifting from gasoline-fuelled cars, offloading its solar panel business, and focusing on green battery technologies. BYD will unveil its Green Hybrid Technology at the Shanghai auto show on Saturday.

The company’s bold move comes with risk. The restructuring of the product line-up will begin late 2013, leaving BYD with a range of conventional gasoline-electric hybrid cars similar to Toyota’s Prius – combining a turbo-charged gasoline engine with an electric motor propulsion system. This technology might shave off 20% of fuel costs.

China’s central government is promoting both hybrid and electric cars through purchase incentives an industrial policy.

Unfortunately, the Chinese government doesn’t recognize them as new energy cars so BYD hybrids are not allowed the handouts that an electric battery car buyer would receive.

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