By on October 16, 2008

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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8 Comments on “Buffett Bucks Boosts BYD Chinese Hybrid...”


  • avatar
    Diewaldo

    I saw the BYD cars on the last IAA. Built and trim quality is on par with Lada. Inside the cars smell like a chemical plant.

    I guess they still have to make a “Great Leap” forward to threaten their European and Japanese contenders.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    BYD won’t try to bring their current generation of “clone” cars to the US, but they have already begun development of a new line of original designs. If they can nail down safety, build quality (and apparently smell), they could well be a significant threat to plug-ins and EV’s from the big boys. 60 mile range and quick recharge are no joke.

  • avatar
    Matthew Danda

    300K lifespan?

    300k / 15k per year = 20 years

    Wow! That would be nice.

  • avatar
    postjosh

    i’m surprised by this one. buffett always claims that he only invests in businesses that he understands. that’s why he never buys tech.

    here’s what he said about gm 2 years back:

    06/06/2006, 2:04 PM
    Cadillac News
    Warren Buffett vouches for GM with Caddy purchase

    American billionaire Warren Buffett says he’s “behind GM 100%” and he even bought one of their cars to prove it. Buffett decided to buy a Cadillac DTS after seeing GM CEO Rick Wagoner on CBS’s Face the Nation in early April. He faxed Wagoner a note that praised him for being “candid, composed, and rational” in his discussion of problems GM faced.

    there’s more about how he sold his lincoln town car because the caddy was better. so, obviously he know s nothing about cars.

  • avatar
    BerettaGTZ

    Their cars may not be up to global standards, but if the hybrid technology is as good as they claim it to be, they could sell or license powertrains and batteries to other OEM’s. Imagine this system in a plug-in hybrid Civic.

  • avatar
    shaker

    The legendary Chinese reputation for safety can only be furthered by selling a car that could catch on fire and burn the occupants to cinders within seconds. (I’ll have my coffee with melamine, please).

    I heard that Buffet was on TV saying “Buy American” (stocks) – there ya go.

    He may own a Cadillac, but how much GM paper?

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    shaker :
    October 17th, 2008 at 7:33 am

    The legendary Chinese reputation for safety can only be furthered by selling a car that could catch on fire and burn the occupants to cinders within seconds. (I’ll have my coffee with melamine, please).

    I heard that Buffet was on TV saying “Buy American” (stocks) – there ya go.

    He may own a Cadillac, but how much GM paper?

    He owns zero stock in any American car companies, because he’s not an idiot. He did write an article that is in yesterday’s New York Times that stated he was moving all his personal holdings that isn’t currently in Berkshire stock from US government bonds to stocks in American companies.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/17/opinion/17buffett.html?_r=1&em&oref=slogin

    As for his company, Berkshire owns very few foreign companies or stocks-almost all their holdings are in domestic companies. This is one of the few exceptions.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Geotpf:

    Thanks for the link — This guy seems like he’s “walking the walk”, and his move may help to settle things down a bit. Cooler heads may prevail…

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