Buffett Bucks Boosts BYD Chinese Hybrid
Battery maker and hybrid powertrain dark horse BYD got quite a legitimacy boost when the Oracle of Omaha (and possible Obama cabinet member) Warren Buffett dropped $230m on ten percent of its stock. And that boost seems to be translating into accelerated plans to bring BYD cars to market. China Car Times reports that BYD will begin selling its “dual mode” (not to be confused with GM’s disasterous “two-mode”) hybrids (specifically, the Toyota Corolla F3DM compact) before the end of the year, several months before the previously-publicized release date. No plans have been announced to accelerate European sales, set to begin in 2010. And U.S. sales are still a gleam in Warren Buffett’s shrewd eye. BYD hybrids have been extensively tested in China, and the firm claims that its proprietary batteries are good for 62 mile of plug-in charge and will last over 300k miles before needing to be replaced. The parallel/serial hybrids can be charged to 50 percent of capacity in ten minutes, while a 100 percent charge takes seven hours, according to BYD. If these numbers hold up and quality is up to snuff, BYD could soon be a big name in the hybrid game. After all, Ma Buffett didn’t raise any fools.
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