"The Chinese government supports ten cities to each have 1,000 electric vehicles for public transportation," said Henry Li, general manager of BYD Auto’s export trade division.
"With this we already have a quite high demand for electric vehicles", he said, adding BYD hoped to supply a big number of e-cars for this program in the coming years. "But there is a lot of competition, so it is hard to say, how many (contracts) we can actually get."
Li said demand for electric cars would first come from governments, taxi businesses and corporate fleets in all markets. "The trend is to go electric, but how much and how long the government will support (the electric car segment) is very difficult to say," he said.
BYD will launch its e6 electric vehicle by the end of 2009 in China. China’s battery and electric car maker BYD Co. said that it has built an electric vehicle battery production base in Huizhou, a city of southern China’s Guangdong province.
This 5-billion-yuan ($732 mln) facility, located in the BYD Huizhou Industrial Park, is one of the nine manufacturing bases that BYD plans to build across China for making cell-phone components, rechargeable batteries and auto parts.
BYD’s Huizhou battery plant will focus on producing the company’s ferrous batteries as its core technology for electric vehicles. The facility is ready for operation and will play a key role in boosting the mass production of the BYD electric cars.
Earlier this month, BYD Co. reached an agreement with Shanghai-based SAIC Motor to supply the Chinese auto giant with lithium-ion batteries for hybrid vehicle production.
In May, Volkswagen formed a partnership with BYD Co. to jointly develop hybrid and electric vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries.
BYD said it was bullish about sales of its F3DM plug-in hybrid car, after China’s industry regulators recommended the energy-efficient model as eligible for government subsidies.
BYD, SAIC sign lithium-ion supply deal
BYD Co Ltd, China’s largest rechargeable battery maker and a well-known automobile producer, recently signed an agreement with one of China’s top three auto groups to provide lithium-ion batteries for hybrid vehicles.
Sources said that BYD’s sales manager Wang Jianjun confirmed that BYD did reach an agreement with a major auto maker in China but declined to disclose the name of the partner.
Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive Co Ltd, a 50:50 joint venture between Volkswagen and the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp, is believed to be BYD’s domestic partner.
In July, SAIC said it plans to invest more than RMB 12 billion in the next three or five years to develop hybrid vehicles and related auto parts. The auto maker also signed an agreement with the Shanghai municipal government to jointly develop the new-energy vehicle industry.
SAIC is planning to launch a new product, the Roewe 750 hybrid sedan, that could cut fuel costs by 20% as compared to the existing model. Its Roewe 550 mid-class sedan, another plug-in hybrid model, will be unveiled and commercialized in 2012. The model can improve fuel-efficiency by 50%.
BYD’s iron-phosphate-based lithium-ion batteries can be recharged more than 2,000 times, which allows the batteries to last for over 600,000 km.