BYD Co. (BYDDF.PK), the Chinese automaker backed by Warren Buffet, announced Friday it will located its North American headquarters in Los Angeles.
The company aims to begin selling smal, all-electric hatchbacks to fleet operators in the US later this year. Retail sales to the public are expected in 2011, and the company said it will offer "several models" by the end of 2011.
The company will be in direct competition with Nissan's LEAF and Mitsubishi's i-MiEV. BYD said it intends to hire about 150 employees in Los Angeles.
BYD also plans to base its solar-panel division in Los Angeles, though no specific details were offered.
In addition, the company plans to sell large, iron phosphate batteries to US utilities for storing power. Senior Vice President Stella Li told reporters the company is in talks to provide a 10-megawatts battery to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. In this market, the company will be competing with GE (NYSE: GE) and Saft, both of which recently announced new utility-scale battery offerings.
In March, BYD and Daimler AG (NYSE: DAI) announced plans to develop a new electric vehicle for specifically for the Chinese market.
Read a the company profile for BYD, put together by the Progessive Investor newsletter.