Is Warren Buffett Building His EV Dreams?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
is warren buffett building his ev dreams

China’s Build Your Dreams (BYD) is something of a dark horse in the hybrid/EV game. BYD has leveraged its status as a major manufacturer of NiCad and Li-Ion batteries to create what it calls a unique hybrid drivetrain, shown in a number of derivative concept vehicles, The system purports to offer a Prius-like parallel hybrid mode, a Volt-like serial hybrid mode AND an EV-only mode. Without independent verification, the firm has invited accusations of vapor-mongering. Automotive News [sub] reports that the thinking man’s billionaire Warren Buffet has cast aside such concerns and dropped $230m on a ten percent stake in BYD. “(BYD founder) Mr. Wang Chuanfu has an extraordinary managerial record, and we welcome the opportunity to work with him,” said Buffett in a statement announcing the purchase by MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a unit of his Berkshire Hathaway financial juggernaut. This development gives BYD exactly what it needs: legitimacy. Buffett is well known for investing purely on a firms business fundamentals; his vote of confidence lifts BYD from unknown quantity to potential, yes that word again, game-changer. Meanwhile my home town of Portland, Oregon has been reaching out to BYD in hopes of landing a local production deal. Hope rain doesn’t short-out these things…

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  • BigOldChryslers BigOldChryslers on Sep 30, 2008

    So when are they going to unveil their electric Lotus Elise knockoff?

  • Menno Menno on Sep 30, 2008

    They've already unveiled their Honda Accord knockoff, as well as Toyota Corolla knockoff and other Toyota knockoffs.... Hopefully they'll start to develop designs of their own soon. They had come up with their own genuine F6 sedan and then chickened out and cloned the prior-gen Honda Accord (with revised front clip & tail lights, interior) which was the basis of the F6H three cylinder plug-in hybrid that I saw in January at the Detroit Auto Show. Yeah, it was impressive - especially for a relatively small, fairly unknown company from a developing nation.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Sep 30, 2008

    Why wouldn't he invest in an "established" EV manufacturer like Fisker, Phoenix Motor Cars, or MilesEV? Getting into the company at the ground floor is better? Doesn't like the business prospects for the companies I mentioned? I'm not going to be investing in anything that the Chinese gov't can snatch back on a whim later. Also not going to fund the Chinese communists gov't either.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Sep 30, 2008

    I lost respect for the Oracle when he got involved in presidential politics. Of all people, he should know to stick to his expertise.