Monday, May 14, 2012

Electric Vehicles Have Current! (part 2)

This is part 2 of this article; for part one, click here.

Next up. A brand that we’ll likely see on the roads in the U.S. very soon. BYD had what may have been the largest passenger vehicle displayed at the show; an SUV that I quickly judged to be about the size of a Lexus RX. 

When comparing the specs, I'm not too far off. Widths of the two vehicles are just about the same however the RX is 2 inches taller and just over 8 inches longer, while the e6 has a wheel base of 111.4 compared to the Lexus at 107.9.

BYD. Their brand name is an acronym for “Build Your Dreams” and a recent claim to fame by the company states until recently they were the largest domestic automobile manufacturer in China. Wow. They make buses too, however, the “pure electric” SUV model on exhibit, the e6, seats five and has a range of 187 miles.

Part of the BYD exhibit
The company came to be in the mid-nineties and is the largest Chinese manufacturer of rechargeable batteries. On-line sources suggest they save money by taking advantage of inexpensive local labor to keep costs down. 
Let’s assume that the savings will be passed along to future purchasers.

In 2009, Warren Buffett was intrigued by the innovation coming from the company’s owner and bought in. In fact, according to this article he bought 10% of BYD for $230 million. That’s a lot of batteries! The stock peaked that year at HK$85.5 a share (about $11 U.S.) but is currently worth about HK$17.66 ($2.27 USD). 

Here's a front view of the e6; does the badge look like it should say "Ford" when you look at it really fast?

Will BYD’s entry into the U.S. market help raise the value of the business? Ah, but there’s a catch. The e6 is only available for fleet sales. Consumers won’t be able to visit a dealer and buy one. Yet. An article from 2011 mentioned 2nd quarter 2012 however, the folks at the show stated that the vehicle is not available for consumers, period.

BYD’s North American headquarters is in Los Angeles. Couldn’t help noticing that other Chinese companies have offices in this fair city as well. 

One was Nia that offers everything from electric sports cars to motorcycles, eATVs, buses, even small planes. Here’s what the landing page on their website looks like:

Well, won’t be telling you too much about them today! I did grab a tiny brochure that measures about three by ten. Very few words on it but lots of microscopic illustrations with lots of detail. Creases in the heavy paper allow you to fold it up neatly and presumably carry it and share with your friends.  In the EVS-26 brochure there’s another website listed, however, that site has information about LED lighting technology and nothing on transportation. Sigh. Not much for consumers to grab onto here.

Will keep an eye on this company and perhaps write more about them in the future. Makes you wonder about some of the other companies present there; do they have some on-line presence catching up to do too?

And there’s still more to talk about! Stay tuned for part three.

Since Warren Buffett isn’t musical, thought you’d enjoy Jimmy instead:

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Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Fleet vehicles are usually used for rentals or company cars or commercial purposes. I don't see this vehicle as being used for commercial purposes (maybe sales) - so why would they limit their market by eliminating sales to consumers? Tim

Shannon Grissom said...

Jimmy's a great choice!Looking forward to part three.

Gerry Wendel said...

It's a mystery. It would make a great family vehicle. And the green aspect of it is a plus!

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree! Tim

Gerry Wendel said...

I promise to be just as entertaining. There's so much to write about, however, the next blog on this subject will have LOTS of photos!