Click on the photo to see our BYD electric cars slideshow. Photo: Michael Graham Richard
In Less Than a Year
Last fall, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway bought a 10% stake in Chinese electric car maker BYD last fall (and is reported to have wanted more than 10%), and despite the huge slowdown of the world economy since then and the big slump in car sales, BYD's share has increased about fivefold in value at the Hong Kong stock exchange. This gives Mr. Buffett a cool $1 billion in paper profits (it's a "paper profit" because he hasn't sold his stake). But that's not all, Buffett is now putting more cash in BYD.Buffett Buys 225 Million New Shares
According to Bloomberg: "Berkshire's MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. unit agreed to buy 225 million new shares of BYD for HK$8 apiece. That stock now has a market value of HK$9.66 billion ($1.25 billion), based on today's closing price. Buffett will pay HK$1.8 billion."
Will this new investment (and show of confidence) help BYD stay on track for the sale of the F3 DM plug-in hybrid in North-America? Or will we see more delays (it was originally supposed to come to the US in 2010, but the target date is now 2011)? Let's hope so.
Even if BYD's cars don't make it over, its battery technology - which in many ways seems more advanced and environmentally friendly than others - could help accelerate the switch to EVs. A partnership with VW and a possible partnership with Ford could be a faster path to getting BYD's technology on the road in Europe and in the US.
More BYD Articles
BYD Delays Sale of Electric Cars in North-America to 2011
GM is Weeping: BYD F3DM Plug-in Hybrid Goes On Sale in China, 3 Years Before Volt
F3DM: The Second, Smaller, Plug-in Hybrid by China's BYD