Volkswagen to Make Electric Vehicles in China; BYD Ships Electric Buses

German automaker Volkswagen (VOW.DE) announced plans to make electric cars for the rapidly growing Chinese market, with partner FAW Group (000800.SZ).

The cars will be sold under a new brand, called Kaili.

Volkswagen says it expects to begin production in China by the end of 2013 or early 2014. A Volkswagen spokesperson notes  the Chinese government is encouraging joint ventures between domestic and foreign car makers. 

China’s ministry of industry and information technology certified FAW-Volkswagen’s Kaili electric vehicle on May 3.

Other foreign companies building electric cars for the Chinese market include Daimler (NYSE: DAI), General Motors (NYSE: GM) and Nissan (NSANY.PK). 

GM is working with China’s SAIC Motor Corp (NYSE: SAI), Nissan has a venture with Dongfeng Motor Group (0489.HK), and Daimler is working with BYD (1211.HK).

BYD Begins Shipping Electric Buses

China’s BYD Company (HKG:1211) has begun shipping its first long-range (>300/Km), electric buses for a 300 bus fleet that will serve the 2011 International Universiade Games held in Shenzhen, China.

After the Universiade Games, these 300 eBU-12’s will be incorporated into Shenzhen’s city bus fleet–creating the largest electric bus fleet in the world.

The eBUS is the first pure electric bus designed and manufactured independently by BYD. At the core of the eBUS technology is BYD’s in-wheel motor drive system and the Iron Phosphate or “Fe” battery technology.

Because the drive system requires no axel, the eBUS floor can sit lower than any other bus, making it very rider-friendly. BYD says the Fe battery boasts the highest safety, longest service life and most environmentally friendly rechargeable chemistry. With these technologies, the BYD eBUS achieves a “loaded bus” city driving range of more than 150 miles (or 250 Km) and it only takes about half an hour to achieve a 50% state-of-charge using BYD’s fast charging system, the company said.

The eBUS also integrates BYD solar panels on the bus roof, converting solar energy to electricity which is stored in the Fe batteries and can completely offset the eBUS air-conditioning load (extending the range on sunny days).

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Comments on “Volkswagen to Make Electric Vehicles in China; BYD Ships Electric Buses”

  1. Wender

    Paul GildingMarch 4, 2010Well, we’ve certainly hit a big bttoun here! Thank you all for the excellent and thoughtful responses. I want to respond to the two broad issues raised. Firstly, the issue of clean congestion. This is of course correct, that clean cars by themselves just means we move on to the next problem e.g. congestion, stupidly designed cities etc. The reason I’m still excited about clean cars, beyond the massive CO2 reduction, is because of the second issue raised. Is this enough? Does it really matter given the scale of dirty stuff happening everywhere else? Guy Pearse, for whom I have great respect for his work on the coal issue, argue this case well. Here we get to an enormously important issue of how change occurs. Of course in a technical sense, Guy and others are right what is actually happening at this stage is insignificant . However talking up and being excited about new developments is important for two reasons. Firstly because people’s actions shape their beliefs rather than the other way around. Thus someone who drives an electric car, even if for the reason that it’s fast, becomes a supporter of further climate action in order to make their beliefs consistent with their actions, as Jonathon points out. Secondly, as Josie suggests, it’s important for those focused on these issues to take a moment now and then to celebrate the progress we are seeing. After all, even though we know that if Alan Kohler is right and we shift to all electric cars in 20 years it won’t fix sustainability, it will teach millions of people what’s possible and put them in the mindset we need to make really transformational change occur. Keep up the debate!


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