BYD Lands In LA, Mojo Lost En Route

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

If you’ve followed TTAC for the last several, you’ve been able to watch the meteoric rise of Build Your Dreams from humble upstart to Buffett-backed behemoth. Two years ago, BYD seemed poised to launch an unstoppable onslaught of cheap Chinese electric cars that seemed like an attractive proposition at a time when gas price angst was everywhere. Today, however, things have changed considerably. Bloomberg reports that BYD has opened its US headquarters in Los Angeles, a year behind schedule, and with fewer jobs than initially promised. And no wonder: for all intents and purposes, BYD has practically abandoned its charge to leverage its cell phone battery know-how into electric car dominance. According to Bloomberg, BYD

“has delayed plans to sell electric cars to retail buyers, citing limited availability of public chargers. Instead, it’s focusing on solar panels, batteries, LED lighting and rechargeable buses.”

But ask an old China car industry hand (say, I don’t know, TTAC Managing Editor Bertel Schmitt) about BYD’s automotive ambitions, and he’ll likely roll his eyes. “BYD was like a dirty word” says Bertel, when asked about the Shenzhen-based firm’s presence at the recent Chengdu Chinese Auto Industry Confab. And even within BYD, all you hear are the sounds of silence: MarketWatch reports the firm is in the grips of a “White Terror.” Through the first half of 2011, BYD’s sales were down 23 percent (in a growing market), net profit is reported to be down 88 percent.

So, what’s next?

“BYD will announce its first two California dealerships soon. They will offer the full range of BYD products, including electric vehicles, solar panels, LED-lighting systems, vehicle-charging equipment and energy-storage systems — large-scale batteries powered by solar panels.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Dolorean Dolorean on Oct 25, 2011

    There's always the option of roof mounted air turbines. Did some research on these for my Master's degree last year. The smallest, and less intrusive if your neighborhood has a covenant, would easily provide about 30 kWh a month at windspeeds averaging 13 mph. Its also not that expensive nor intensive to install and wouldn't care if its day or night long as there's a breeze. Coupled with a small, flexible solar panel on the roof, you'd easily be able to charge the Volt up plus maybe heat the water in the water heater.

    • See 1 previous
    • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Oct 26, 2011

      $750 just for the turbine, to produce $3 a month in electricity? Am I missing something here?

  • TonyJZX TonyJZX on Oct 25, 2011

    i looked at BYD's portfolio besides some uninteresting hybrids they seem to specialise in building copies of Toyotas... that don't crash well they won't succeed in the west with that

  • VoGhost Key phrase: "The EV market has grown." Yup, EV sales are up yet again, contrary to what nearly every article on the topic has been claiming. It's almost as if the press gets 30% of ad revenues from oil companies and legacy ICE OEMs.
  • Leonard Ostrander Daniel J, you are making the assertion. It's up to you to produce the evidence.
  • VoGhost I remember all those years when the brilliant TTAC commenters told me over and over how easy it was for legacy automakers to switch to making EVs, and that Tesla was due to be crushed by them in just a few months.
  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.
  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys dudes off the rails on drugs and full of hate and retribution. so is musky.